Artists' mixing three or four colours

Artist Tip:
Three or four colours mixed at one time.

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artist mixing too many colours
Mixing too many colours .. Mud!

We will exclude white from this rule, so I am talking about pigment colours only. Any more than four of these mixed together in large proportions will end in the same colour no matter what colours you are using.  


You can mix every colour that you have available together in one mix if you want to, but I think that will be very rare, ( never in my case ) but the large proportion of the total mix, at least 90%, must be made up from no more than three of four of the pigments on your pallet.

Microscopic amounts will make a difference, so make a small sample mix first, add tiny amounts at a time. Mix it well and see if you are heading in the right direction. If not, remove it and start again. No it is not wasted paint until you allow it to go on your painting were you should not put it.

school painst Artists Mixing Colours
Artists Mixing Colours

Mix it with a pallet trowel, not a brush!! I do not know how artists can control how much paint that they are adding to a mix, when much of it is concealed inside the bristles of a brush. It will keep coming out into the mix long after you are finished and happy with the colour, wreaking your mix.

You need to learn to analyse your pigments, and you will look at a colour and see the colours that make it up. It got so that I could not look at anything without this ‘kicking in’. It nearly drove me nuts, when I was trying to relax, and my brain was busy analysing colours and mixing them. More about this later.

Happy Painting
Ron Gribble.
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