Steps to make Better Oil Paintings: Tips & Techniques for Correctly Mixing Color

Steps to make Better Oil Paintings: Tips & Techniques for Correctly Mixing Color

Oil Paintings

There’s nothing more frustrating when painting then not being able to mix the proper color. When I first started oil painting, it didn’t matter that i possibly could see just what color I needed, because everything I mixed up still turned into mud.
In the end, it simply took a bit more knowledge of how color works. In this tutorial I’m likely to pass along that knowledge.

  • The eight colors you see above are all that I prefer when painting. (You might also want to consider my full listing of oil painting supplies for beginning painters.) The most notable red is Cadmium Red, and the one below it really is Permanent Alizarin Crimson. The two blues are harder to differentiate over the computer, nevertheless the top a person is Ultramarine Blue together with other is Phthalo Blue. My yellows are Cadmium Yellow Light, and Cadmium Yellow (which is practically orange).
  • Titanium White and Ivory Black are also to my palette, but i personally use them sparingly. There’s no green, or any other intermediate colors, because i will mix every color I need with those eight colors of paint. At the end of this tutorial, you’ll oftimes be far more confident that you are able to do the same, so feel free to bookmark this page if you’d prefer to utilize it as a reference later.

Before we get too far in, you’ll need certainly to start thinking about color differently—that every color actually has another color in it too.

  • Sound weird? Well view it in this manner: Some yellows are far more “orange” than the others, which means that they usually have more red in them. Some blues have enough yellow in them to ensure they are green. And so on.
  • There’s no perfect blue, or perfect red, because every color you see leans one of the ways or the other round the color wheel. Then when you mix blue paint with yellow paint to produce green, you’re also bringing together two other colors into the mix—and that is exactly what causes all the problems.
  • Utilizing the paints I prefer, I have four other ways which will make green. I can mix Phthalo Blue (the top blue in this next image) with either Cadmium Yellow Light, or Cadmium Yellow; and I also can mix Ultramarine Blue with either yellow.
  • As you can see, the absolute most vivid green possible is with Phthalo Blue and Cad Yellow Light. Why? Because both colors already lean towards green in the color wheel!
  • If I prefer Ultramarine to make green, then I’m adding a little red to the mix, since it looks a tad bit more purple/violet (and therefore learns toward red). Because red is directly opposite of green on the wheel, I’m essentially neutralizing the green as I mix it, which makes it more brown than it needs to be.
  • If I go one step further, and mix Ultramarine with Cadmium Yellow (my “orange” yellow) then I’m adding even more red towards the mix which can be great if i would like brown, but not good if I’m searching for green!
  • The simple truth is, neutralizing colors is straightforward: you merely add a little bit of whatever color is opposite on the wheel. But getting bright, pure color takes knowing which paint colors won’t automatically dull down another color.

So just how about making orange? Again, I’ve got four options.

  1. The exact same rules apply here while they did for mixing green: if you’d like the essential vivid orange, mix a yellow that leans towards red with a red that leans toward yellow.
  2. Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red make a brilliant orange-red that is fantastic to paint with, and Cadmium Yellow Light and Cadmium Red come up with a good color too. Actually, they make just a slightly more vivid orange than Cadmium Yellow is right out of the tube.
  3. Mixing Permanent Alizarin Crimson with either of the yellows works OK, nevertheless the touch of blue this has on it will usually make your resulting orange a bit more neutral.
  4. What Permanent Alizarin Crimson really is best for is making a purple or violet color, since it’s already a bluish/red paint.
  5. Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine (leftmost blue) give me the best result; and extremely no other combination compares.
  6. Glance at what the results are once I use Ultramarine with Cadmium Red! You’d think it would work somewhat, but there’s a great deal yellow in Cadmium Red so it completely dulls along the blue and all sorts of I’m left with is a brownish maroon color.
  7. And try as I might, all I’m able to get with the Phthalo (by keeping a strong reign regarding the Cadmium Red) is a dark gray blue.

Right now I hope you won’t be surprised there are hidden colors lurking in your black and white paint as well.

  • Ivory black is really a dark, neutral blue, which ultimately shows up a little bit when you mix it with white. The white i personally use, Titanium White, is great given that it really doesn’t have that much other color in it.
  • At the beginning of this article I mentioned that i take advantage of black and white sparingly. The reason behind this might be that they’re completely neutral colors, and using them will always eliminate the vividness of your other paint.
  • A lot more than that, black and white don’t necessarily act like lots of people think they should.
  • For example, if you mix black with yellow you’ll quickly find out which you don’t just get a darker yellow. Ivory Black actually turns yellow into a type of muddy green.

And oddly enough, the two best tips i could offer new painters is always to make use of a clean, organized palette and ALWAYS clean your brush before mixing an alternative color.
I don’t mean you must completely clean your paint brushes with turpentine in between every brush stroke, but having a newspaper handy to quickly squeeze a lot of the paint from the bristles isn’t that hard.
You are able to dip your brush into oil painting medium made with linseed stand oil and turpentine should you want to get more paint out. Allow it to be a habit to keep your brushes clean while painting, and I guarantee your paintings will greatly improve.
Finally, you need to be deliberate when mixing colors—take your time and effort if just getting started. Your time and effort can pay off in the event that you follow these guidelines and before you know it, matching the colors you see in life will soon become second nature.
Be sure that you read our full article about Oil Paintings!