Have you ever gone to an art supply store or ordered paint online and felt really overwhelmed by all the choices? It can be really tough to know what to buy, so I wanted to share with you my strategy for keeping paint shopping simple by knowing how to mix colors. By knowing more about how to mix colors, you can avoid buying all of the different tubes of paint while also expanding your palette choices.
When you mix your own paint colors, you have more control over the colors and more range, because you can only find so many colors in tubes and there’s infinite colors out there, which you can mix.
Another thing about mixing your colors is it’ll give you more harmony between your colors. If you’re using several shades, if you mix them from the same paint, then there’s this connection through all of them. So it really gives them a lot of harmony.
Also, when you’re buying paint, you only have to buy a few colors and it’s less overwhelming.
The swatching also makes a handy reference for future paintings as well. You can either number them or name them and then refer back to them if I like a certain painting or a certain color, and it gives you a way to be more consistent with your art instead of guessing about colors and how to make them.
Colors of Paint to Buy for Mixing Colors
Here’s the colors I recommend you buy when you’re shopping for paint:
- Magenta (specifically quinacridone)
- Black (optional)
You can mix nearly any color you want out of just these colors. In the four videos below, I will teach you how to mix almost any color with these basic colors. We will also talk about the different options you have when it comes to these colors (because I know there are a lot of different reds, blues, and yellows) and how the color bias of the colors you choose to purchase will come into play.
In the beginning of learning how to mix colors, you may want to buy several different reds, yellows, and blues to get a feel for the different pigments and which ones suit your color preferences best. In these videos, I use a variety of different hues that I had on hand, but keep in mind that you can get even more colors and different colors depending on the hue of your primary paint color.
Please also note that other colors you may want to have on hand that you can’t mix out of these colors include metallic colors as well as neon colors.
How to Swatch Your Colors and Do Color Mixing Tests
For swatching my paints, I like to use a thicker sheet of paper like cardstock so that I don’t end up with a mushy mess of paper when the paint soaks through.
All you need to do is draw a simple grid on the paper. Then label down the side with one of your colors (for example all of your yellows) and across the top with your other color (such as your blues).
Start with a dab of each color in its respectively labeled square. It’s good to leave a little bit here untainted so that you can have a pure reference of that color and how it dries. I use the paint straight out of the tube, not mixed for pouring.
Now work along the grid combining the yellows and blues in the corresponding squares using a palette knife. And you just want to get it really thoroughly mixed. You’re actually mixing together the particles of the paint, the pigments, so you want to really smash it in and mix it well.
Always start with the lighter color in the pair as your base and gradually add in the darker color. It is easier to make a color darker than lighten it back up again. And doing it the other way around will cause you to create more paint than you need.
Color Mixing Basics
- Blue + Yellow = Green
- Red + Yellow = Orange
- Blue + Red/Magenta = Violet
Adding a complementary color will dull your color. Adding white will lighten it. Adding black will also dull your color (Just be careful and add black slowly as you don’t want it to take over your color).
If you want more information about colors and color theory as it relates to acrylic pouring, head on over to my post about Choosing Colors for Acrylic Pouring and grab your FREE printable Color Wheel and Color Scheme Guides.
You can also head on over to my shop for more goodies and resources by clicking here: https://courses.homebodyhall.com/shop/
Complementary Color Pairs
Complementary colors are found directly across from each other on the color wheel. The most common pairs are:
Colors used in the how to mix colors videos:
- Master’s Touch Medium Yellow
- Artist’s Loft Brilliant Blue
- Master’s Touch Phthalo Blue
- Master’s Touch Ultramarine Blue
- Master’s Touch Titanium White
- Master’s Touch Crimson
- Artist’s Loft Deep Red
- Artist’s Loft Brilliant Red
- Liquitex Basics Quinacridone Magenta
- Artist’s Loft Raw Umber
How to Mix Green Paint Colors Video Tutorial
How to Mix Orange Paint Colors Video Tutorial
How to Mix Violet Paint Colors Video Tutorial
How to Mix Gray Paint Colors Video Tutorial
Go Forth and Play with Color!
Now that you know how to mix colors, you can use any color you want without having to run down and buy a new tube of paint! How cool is that!
If you are just getting started with acrylic pouring, here are some more posts that you may enjoy.
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