Artist painting Colour mixing with school paints

How do you mix a colour as dark as black, without black?? 
by Ron Gribble.

How do you mix a colour as dark as black, without black??

I use a very dark blue, like Ultramarine, or Thalo, and mix it equally with a dark red, like Alizarin Crimson. These opposites tend to cancel each other out, and the result is a very dark neutral colour. You can add more of one or the other to make it tend towards hot or cold, or equal amounts to make it neutral.

One thing that I look for though, is to make the colour "believable". The two pigments are very strong, and need toning down with an earth colour. If you make it as dark an earth colour as you can, you will still have a deep rich, almost black. I use Burnt Sienna, and add little at a time until I have the colour I need. This idea with Burnt Sienna is a good one to remember whenever you are mixing any very strong pigments together.

Artist painting Colour mixing ron Gribble


1. Add little bits at a time. Mix it together, and add more. If you add too much of a colour, it is very hard to take it out again, but very easy to add more.

2. More colours is not better. Limit yourself to two or three colours max, and add tiny amounts of others to achieve the finished hue. Any more and you will have MUD.

3. Use a Pallet trowel, and NOT YOUR BRUSH! I never mix paint with a bush. You cannot get control of the colour by using a brush, as you have no idea how much raw colour still lerks in the brush, waiting to mix with something you do not want it to mix with. You will get paint every were and it will do your brushes no good at all as well.

4. Unsure of how to mix a colour? Try mixing a small amount first, and when successfull, mix up the larger mix.

Happy Painting,
Ron Gribble.

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