Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Importance of Color Mixing for Interesting Paintings

You can achieve perfect (and creative) color mixing every time with help from artist Nancy Reyner. Nancy’s number one tool for painting is color matching. It can add not only resolve issues, but can help add visual interest to a painting. Why is mixing and matching color so important?

1. Color mixing and matching eliminates repetition and create a sense of space and readability.

Look at all these flowers in the foreground on the left. They are repetitive, and as such, uninteresting in shape or color. To improve the composition, we can mix and match the colors in the background behind the flower, and apply it into the composition, as if a magic wand simply removed the flower and it was no longer there.

Perfect color mixing every time

Eliminate repetition in the composition on the left, by mixing background colors and applying in the foreground to create a more interesting shape as shown on the right.


2. When you know how to mix color you can create variety and visual interest.

Green is a great color, but why use is straight from the tube. Make it lighter, warmer, cooler, bluer, yellower, duller, all by mixing color on your palette with the original tube green.

Perfect color mixing every time--variety is key.

Mixing a variety of warm and cool colors into your tube green creates an interesting array of color choices.

Here is a painting by Gaugin. The foreground of this grassy hill has a variety of interesting geens that help lead the viewer into the painting. In the image on the right, Nancy changed the foreground to a green straight out of the tube, and the painting becomes boring with uniform color.

Perfect color mixing every time--variety means interesting paintings.

Gauguin painting on left has a variety of interesting greens. Version on right has been altered to show lack luster effects from using a uniform tube green in the foreground.


Ready to get started mixing and matching colors?

Variety is what adds a visual interest to your painting. The key to getting variety, Nancy suggests, is to start with a full painting palette. With this list of pigments, you can create perfect color mixes and matches every time!

Perfect color mixing every time--extended color palette.

You can add interest to any painting with an extended color palette.

  • Cool red: Quinacridone Magenta
  • Warm red: Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium, Pyrrole Red, Pyrrole Red Light, Naphthol Red Light, or Naphthol Red Medium
  • Cool yellow: Hansa Yellow Light, Lemon Yellow, or Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Warm yellow: Hansa Yellow Medium or Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • Cool blue: Phthalo Blue GS (Green Shade)
  • Warm blue: Ultramarine Blue
  • Titanium White: Premix three white values (one leaning toward yellow, one toward blue, and one toward red) for added eye gems when painting.
  • Carbon Black
  • Optional Colors: Dioxazine Purple, Green Gold, Nickel Azo Yellow, Cadmium or Pyrrole Orange, Permanent Green Light, Phthalo Green YS (Yellow Shade)

Watch this preview of Nancy Reyner’s Perfect Color Mixing video to learn about the only seven basic colors you need to mix and match any color, including recommendations for which reds to use on your palette, as well as a simple technique for how to dull a color that’s too bright! Visit for access to Nancy’s full-length art instruction.



Preview Nancy Reyner’s Creative Color video now to see how to create interesting color effects, including a method for mixing the perfect color to finish the sides of your painting! Visit for access to Nancy’s full-length art instruction.



The post The Importance of Color Mixing for Interesting Paintings appeared first on Artist's Network.

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