How to prevent mixing mud on your palette or canvas?

Usually what painters do is shading a color white to make it lighter and shading a color black to darken it but doing this method is not always applicable. Nowadays, access to different oil colors is mind boggling, so it would be confusing for one to know where to start.

First step: Start simple, use as few as possible to illustrate the subject matter and your style in painting. Try to use these colors: cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium (rarely used), cadmium red medium (rarely used), alizarin crimson, Phthalo blue (rarely used) and Prussian blue.

Next thing you should do is to know and understand about paint in general. Just to let you know, each paint color has another color mixed with it. Remember that manufacturers do not blend true color of blue, yellow, or red. Do you know why? It’s because, it would be impossible to come up with a perfect combination. So you will find the colors I have mention above will lean one way or the other towards another color.

  • Cadmium Yellow Light leans towards the green.
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium leans towards the orange.
  • Cadmium Red Medium leans towards the orange.
  • Alizarin Crimson leans towards the violet.
  • Prussian Blue leans towards the violet
  • Phthalo Blue leans towards the green

Maybe you’re asking, how about the greens? Don’t worry; they are completely mixable from the above. You can create a very true intense green color by mixing Phthalo blue (leans green) and cadmium yellow light (leans green). I’ve done this before and I rarely see this intense green in nature, but then again, the way I say it maybe different from others and the use of it maybe quite satisfactory.

Since the paint has a touch of another color in it, mixing two colors would become a blend of four colors. I’m not surprise if you get mud and introduced one or two more colors to a mixture. It will become six and eight colors now! However, remember to keep your mixtures as few as possible.

Second step: The above list of six colors will mix a full range of colors but because of what I have mention earlier, let’s add two more premixed colors to our palette: yellow ochre and burnt umber. I use these two to darken my shade of yellows. When you use black (because of its secondary minor additive colors) your yellow will turn into dark dull green. Same goes with most of your oranges and cadmium reds. Burnt umber should be used to darken them instead of black.

Third step: The final set of rules that you can post to your color chart with the use of said colors above would be tinting or shading them rather than juts adding white or black and thus keep them bright and not too dull.

  1. In your red scale, use white to lighten it then use alizarin crimson then black to darken it.
  2. In orange scale I recommend you use yellow to lighten it then white. To darken it, use burnt umber then black.
  3. For your yellow scale, use yellow light then white to lighten. To darken it, use yellow ochre then burnt umber.
  4. For green scale, just add white to lighten and black to darken.
  5. For blue scale, use white to lighten then Prussian blue. Then use black to darken.
  6. For violet scale, white to lighten then add Prussian blue and add alizarin crimson then black to darken it.

You can use them tips in mixing colors for your abstract art paintings and contemporary paintings. It will surely give vibrant and lively look to it.

There you go! I hope these simple guides in mixing colors will help you create the colors you desire for your abstract painting! Good luck!

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