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Mixing Colors: Paint and Tinting Strength

Mixing Colors:

Tinting Strength of Colors

All colors have a different tinting strength. For instance on our palette yellow have the least tinting strength you will need  more yellow(about 2/3 more than red to get an orange mixture .  Now I don’t want to start getting into recipes just note you will generally need more yellow. Blue is higher in tinting strength than red in general. A word of caution our green blue has the highest tinting strength of any color the palette  you will normally use ten times less Thalo blue to a mixture or less so for a green it would be 10 to one: 10 parts yellow to one part Thalo blue(green blue) a little of this blue goes a very very long way.

Just in general to get a feel for what I am saying about tinting strength or portions of color, lets talk about creating grays with black and white, to get a #6 on the value scale you can usually mix equal parts white and black, to mix a step# 7 you need to add 4 parts white to 1 part black, to mix a step #8 you may need to add 16 parts white to 1 part black,  to mix a step #9 you may need to mix 40 parts white to 1 part black to get to step 10# you may need to add 100 parts white or more to 1 part black. You should see that as you go higher up the value the amount of white needed doesn’t just double or even triple it rises quickly the higher you make the value.  This tinting strength principle applies in general to any paint color.  if I have a red that is a #6 on the value scale and I want to make it a #10 I could need as much a 100 parts white to one part red.

This is something to be aware I have seen students going through all the right steps to get a certain color only to forget this principle. They end up fighting to get a light gray a number #9 or something on the value scale. Normally they have this huge puddle of gray and they have used up their white puddle and their mixing puddle is a step #7 needing to lighten but 2 steps in value. I sit down squeeze out more white take a pea sized bit from their color puddle and add 6 to 7 times as much white and there is the color they needed . What went wrong is there wasn’t enough white in their mixture. To try and  make the entire puddle light enough I  would have had to add a 150ml of white to their puddle to make it light enough but instead I took just a bit from the original mixing pile so I could add the needed amount of white to get the right mixture .

The best way to avoid burning through more paint than you are prepared to use try this method of keeping in mind the tinting strength of your paint and you will be able to control the accuracy of your color mixtures but you will also control how much paint you use. Further this is a tip to help your control your color mixtures even better.

Start with the color you need for the color mixture to be or the value you need it to be so if I am painting a sky and I need a light blue I will start be pulling out a small pile of white paint. Then I add small bits of blue to that white until I have the value of light blue I want  if I need to make the blue greener or more violet add small bits of green or purple to shift the hue it shouldn’t take much the value shouldn’t shift much unless you are adding a very dark blue even then a small amount of white will lighten the value of the mixture to where you will need it. If you are creating a dark mixture start with your dark color and then lighten it as needed with lighter colors to control the value shifting the hue and chroma as needed this will help you control your color mixture much easier. So always remember the tinting strength of the paints you use.

Using Black and White a Cautionary Tale

   How to Use Black and White in Oil Painting

    One thing that happens with mixing paint is people reach for white or black too quickly when they are mixing colors. The biggest thing to remember is white or black will desaturate your color mixtures very quickly. When mixing your colors mix your hue first remember the colors your mix together will affect the value and chroma of the final color mixture. Get as close to the color you need before you add white. Also remember when you add white the color will get lighter but will also get cooler oranges, yellows and reds will shift more than other colors. So if I am adding white to an orange mixture the mixture will get cooler. After adding white I will have to add a warm yellow to shift the mixture warmer. It’s intuitive like with cooking you make the soup and then taste it sometimes it needs a little more salt, pepper or whatever. It’s the same thing with mixing color. Just remember to add white at the end of your mixture. To avoid times when you might add white to early in a mixture. If I am creating a very light blue green for instance and using a dark blue such as thalo or ultramarine. These colors are so dark in value it is hard to see what the color is doing when it is so dark. I could lighten the mixture with lemon yellow but that will also shift the mixture more yellow. I might add a little white to make the blue higher in value just so I can see the hue a little clearer and control my mixture much better.
The paint color Black has gotten a bad rap over the years. There are two camps those that swear that black should never find its way onto your palette and others that say good paintings can’t be done without it. I say good paintings can be done with or without black. I do enjoy having black on my palette. You can certainly paint without black and many great artists don’t use black. However there are just as many great colorists and impressionists who used black including Degas, Manet, Zorn and others. The best thing to remember is add black to a color mixture containing one or two other colors. Avoid having white in the mixture since that will lower the chroma or intensity of the mixture considerably. Use black with a transparent color like alizarin crimson or ultramarine blue and others this will give the black more translucency and add some depth to the black. Also remember in your mixtures that black is nothing more than a very dark low intensity blue. So remember black is a blue use it that way in your mixtures.
By understanding how to use white and black and how they affect your color mixtures you can use them effectively to lower and lighten the value of your colors while controlling their intensity. This will give your paintings more depth.

Which Color is That Warm or Cool

Is That Color Warm or Cold

You hear a lot about the terms warm or cool colors. There is a broad definition and a more detailed explanation for warm and cool colors. The basic definition for your primary colors are red is warm and blue is cold some refer to yellow as warm but I consider it a neutral color meaning it can lean either warm or cool. Next you have your secondary colors Orange is warm and Violet is cool but once again I consider green to be neutral because it can be warm or cool.

General Definition

Warm Colors Neutral Colors Cool Colors
Red Yellow Blue
Orange Green Violet

The more detailed definitions or warm or cool are applied to every color on color wheel and the colors you have on your palette

Warm and Cool of each Primary and Secondary Color

Warm Colors Cool Colors
Yellow -Orange Yellows Yellow- Greener Yellows
Blue – Green Blues Blue- Violet Blues
Red – Red Orange Red Violet
Red Orange Yellow Orange
Red Violet Blue Violet
Yellow Green

 

Blue Green

This palette contains the warm and cool of every primary color. These are spaced around the color wheel the closer proximity of the colors allows us to get more color variations. Because as we will learn distance between your colors is everything in controlling your color mixtures.

More detailed still is colors are warm and cool in context to one another you can take a cool color from a overall warm painting(with mostly oranges and reds) and put it in an overall cool painting(painting with a a lot of purple and blues) and that color that was cool in one context can be warm in another. Below is a good example.
Put here 6 colors with different relationships.

The Violet Color Seems Warm among blues and greens but cool among yellows and reds

To see videos on Color Theory and Mixing visit my YouTube channel

Here is a video on Warm and Cool colors

Oil Painting, Color and Intensity Scales

The Chroma Scale

Chroma is an important aspect of Color. Remember chroma and intensity mean the same thing, it is how bright or dull a color appears. By having a variety of intensities with your colors you increase the the depth of your color relationships in your paintings. You seldom hear mention of  the chroma or intensity scale so let’s explore what it means.

The Chroma wheel shows the primary colors decreasing in intensity or chroma down threw the chroma scale to a neutral gray. Pictured above in the color wheel are the primary, secondary and tertiary colors progressing from their most intense down the 5 steps to neutral gray. There are several levels of intensity but for the chroma scale we will use a five steps of intensity. Step 5 is a color at its most intense Step 1 is neutral gray.

Since chroma doesn’t refer to value or hue a very light violet may be a step 4 on the chroma scale as well as raw sienna and venetian red though the colors differ in hue and value they are the same chroma or intensity.

 

 

Try to ignore the color’s differences and instead focus on their similarities. Their intensity, by learning to observe a color’s intensity you will be taking a large step in understanding color.

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How to Mix Color:Mixing with Tertiary Colors

Color Wheel Primary Secondary and Tertiary Color

Controlling Color Using
Tertiary Colors

Control your mixtures with a better understanding of the color wheel

. Most colors of a painting are not colors right out of the tube. They have to be modified. As the artist we modify the value, intensity(chroma) or the hue. Sometimes we modify all three today we are going to talk about using tertiary colors to lower or “gray down” a color’s intensity. Grayed or colors of lower intensity are important way of controlling you color. The more intense colors catch more attention when they are surrounded by colors with lower intensity. 80% percent of you colors in representational painting will contain colors of lower intensity or chroma another words “grayed” colors.

Now when I say “grayed” I am not talking about battle ship grey. I am talking about any color not being at it’s most intense shade. Below are some wonderful grayed colors. Earth tones in this example would be included with grayed colors. Grayed colors will give you paintings more variety and better cohesion.

Assorted swatches of Grayed color

Colors in nature are rarely straight out of the tube. Your primary and secondary colors are too intense to look natural. When painting, you are constantly modifying your colors and graying their intensity to create paintings that are harmonious.

First, lets look at the definitions of color.

Primary Colors – These colors cannot be mixed. They are the colors from which all other colors are made. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.

Secondary Colors – These colors are mixed from the primary colors. The secondary colors are orange, green, and purple.

Tertiary Colors – These colors are the steps between the primary and secondary colors. The tertiary colors are red orange, yellow orange, red purple, blue purple, yellow green, and blue green.

Complimentary Colors – Colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel. The compliment of red is green. The compliment of blue is orange.

Analogous Colors – Colors near one another on the color wheel. Analogous colors of red are purple and orange. Analogous colors of green are yellow and blue.

 

Each color has three characteristics.

Hue– The hue of a color is what color family the color belongs to. Is it red, yellow, blue, green, orange, or purple?

hue small

Value – How dark or light a color is.

value strip

Chroma – Is the intensity of a color, how bright or dull a color is.

red greeen strip

Grays are essential to give your painting structure and depth.

Grays are more than those neutral battleship grays. Every color has its highest saturation point or intensity. As the intensity of a color drops, it is referred to being “grayed down”. Browns are actually dark reds or oranges, where the intensity and value have been lowered.

Once you mixing colors you will want to use tertiary colors all those wonderful colors between the primary and secondary colors. Just as with other colors you gray them down with their compliment. The compliment of a tertiary color will always be straight across from the color wheel and will always be another tertiary color ex: The compliment of “Blue Green” is “Orange Red”. Notice the compliment of “Blue Green” is easy to remember if you find the compliment of each color named in the color description(Compliment of Blue=Orange, the compliment of Green=Red, so the compliment of Blue Green is Orange Red)
use this method to find the compliment of the color you are mixing. It will save you time from having to constantly look at the color wheel.

Graying color using Tertiary Colors

Red Violet and Yellow Green

 

Red Orange and Blue Green

 

Yellow Orange and Blue Violet

 

So if you are using alizarin crimson which is a Red Violet and need to knock down the intensity and you don’t want it to change it’s hue too much add it’s compliment Yellow Green to the mixture. Learn your tertiary colors to have more control over you color mixtures.

by Kevin McCain
To learn more about painting visit

Kevin McCain Studios Art Classes

For information on Painting Workshops Visits Kevin McCain Studios

To see demonstrations on mixing colors view my You Tube Channel Kevin McCain Studios

Color Mixing Video below

Mixing Colors Using Split Primary Palette

How to Mix Color: Color Characteristics

Color and It’s Multiple Personalities

  Color is has three very distinct personalities or characteristics. This is why color has so much complexity however by understanding these aspects of color and how to identify them you can better understand the colors you are seeing. Understanding is more than half the battle in the world of color mixing. The three aspects of color are hue, value and chroma. With the exception of black and white every color has these three aspects. So let’s shed a little light on what these things mean.

 

Hue

Hue is what family the color is apart. Is the color red, yellow, blue, green, violet, or orange, whether a color is dark or light, dull or bright every color will belong to one of these 6 color families. Practice viewing color and describing in which family of color it belongs.

Chroma

Chroma or Intensity is the second attribute of color. It is how bright or dull a color appears. Colors can be quiets grays or loud vibrant and colorful. All these variations of a color’s chroma or intensity makeit a very expressive aspect of color.

Value

Value is the last and the most important aspect of color. If you get you values right in a painting you can do all kinds of things with chroma or hue and still create a very convincing painting. A great example of this would be the work of California Impressionists such as William Wendt.

The combination of these three aspects are contained in the millions of colors we find in the world around us. Understanding hue, chroma and intensity will help you to accurately identify color.

 

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Make a Great Drawing Board

Drawing Board the Foundation

For a Great Drawing

Drawing Boards are great supports for doing solid drawings. You can go to an art store to and purchase one for 10.00 – 25.00 or you can save a little money and have the board cut to any size you want. Almost all drawing boards are made of masonite or MDF a compressed wood product. Thanks to the convenience of Home Depot you can purchase a 2′ x 4′ or 48″ x 24″  of MDF for between 7 – 9 dollars. They will also cut the board to your specifications. The is a great way to get you a great drawing that will last for years.

If you would like to know more about drawing Classes visit IdahoArtClasses.com

How to Control Color Mixes

Mixing Grays with
Triadic Colors

Control your mixtures with a better understanding of the colorwheel
Greyed or colors of lower intensity are important way of controlling you color. The more intense colors catch more attention when they are surrounded by colors with lower intensity. 80% percent of you colors in representational painting will contain colors of lower intensity or chroma another words “greyed” colors.

Now when I say “greyed” I am not talking about battle ship grey. I am talking about any color not being at it’s most intense shade. Below are some wonderful grayed colors. Earth tones in this example would be included with greyed colors. Greyed colors will give you paintings more variety and better cohesion.

Assorted swatches of Grayed color

Colors in nature are rarely straight out of the tube. Your primary and secondary colors are too intense to look natural. When painting, you are constantly modifying your colors and graying their intensity to create paintings that are harmonious.

First, lets look at the definitions of color.

Primary Colors – These colors cannot be mixed. They are the colors from which all other colors are made. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.

Secondary Colors – These colors are mixed from the primary colors. The secondary colors are orange, green, and purple.

Tertiary Colors – These colors are the steps between the primary and secondary colors. The tertiary colors are red orange, yellow orange, red purple, blue purple, yellow green, and blue green.

Complimentary Colors – Colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel. The compliment of red is green. The compliment of blue is orange.

Analogous Colors – Colors near one another on the color wheel. Analogous colors of red are purple and orange. Analogous colors of green are yellow and blue.

 

Each color has three characteristics.

Hue– The hue of a color is what color family the color belongs to. Is it red, yellow, blue, green, orange, or purple?

Value – How dark or light a color is.

Chroma – Is the intensity of a color, how bright or dull a color is.

Grays are essential to give your painting structure and depth. Grays are more than those neutral battleship grays. Every color has its highest saturation point or intensity. As the intensity of a color drops, it is referred to being “greyed down”. Browns are actually dark reds or oranges, where the intensity and value have been lowered.

Once you mixing colors you will want to use tertiary colors all those wonderful colors between the primary and secondary colors. Just as with other colors you gray them down with their compliment. The compliment of a tertiary color will always be straight across from the color wheel and will always be another tertiary color ex: The compliment of “Blue Green” is “Orange Red”. Notice the compliment of “Blue Green” is easy to remember if you find the compliment of each color named in the color description(Compliment of Blue=Orange, the compliment of Green=Red, so the compliment of Blue Green is Orange Red)
use this method to find the compliment of the color you are mixing. It will save you time from having to constantly look at the color wheel.

Graying color using Tertiary Colors

Red Violet and Yellow Green

 

Red Orange and Blue Green

 

Yellow Orange and Blue Violet

 

So if you are using alizarin crimson which is a Red Violet and need to knock down the intensity and you done want it to change it’s hue too much add it’s compliment Yellow Green to the mixture. Learn your tertiary colors to have more control over you color mixtures.

by Kevin McCain
To learn more about painting visit

Kevin McCain Studios Art Classes

Prints or Original Artwork. What is What in the World of Art

Giclee’ Prints, Artists print, Limited Editions, Open Editions

Understanding the Madness of the Print Market

Art is sometimes ambiguous, but understanding what you are buying should be crystal clear. In my earlier days when I showed my artwork at outdoor art venues I saw a lot of customers and patrons purchase items and not understand the difference between original art, prints, editions, and essentially poster or wall art. Artists sometimes don’t help in clarifying these things. Maybe it’s because they are too busy trying to eek out a living selling their wares and making a meager living through their artwork. However I have never believed it’s a good idea to sell something based on assumptions or to keep the consumer in the dark about what they are really buying. I believe by not clarifying what artists are actually selling they are hurting themselves, their fellow artists and the consumers. I know many people that buy giclee’ prints or another words canvas prints. Because of how far printing on canvas has come people buy these canvas prints thinking it is a one of a kind original painting instead of a reproduction. This causes problems when the purchaser finds out his original painting is in fact a copy. This realization erodes confidence not only in the artist who produced the canvas print but the art world as a whole. It’s bad for artists and the art buyer. However canvas prints are not a bad thing, many artists produce a series of artist approved canvas prints. So what does it mean when you buy a copy? What is the difference between a copy and an original painting? These questions and others are answered in this article.

It’s not only canvas prints that muddy the waters for art buyers. I also know people who purchase open edition prints or another words posters thinking that they are buying original works of art or another words original prints. Original prints are a series of prints approved by the artist for production or for reproduction. These prints are known as original prints. Again knowing the difference between open edition prints, limited edition prints, and artist proofs or artist prints will help you know what it is you are buying or how you are labeling your artwork.

Let me start off by saying that you should never buy art hoping it will increase in value. That is never a sure thing. There is never a guarantee that the artworks you purchase will even capture the same price you originally paid for them. So don’t buy art with a mindset that its value will increase. Instead, buy what you love or what moves you as a person and inspires you when you look at it. Art is created to lift our souls and enrich our lives. Even though art has no guarantee of becoming a gold mine, original artwork purchased from professional artists will hold a certain amount of value in most cases. It is always best to buy original art when possible. It is like buying antiques.

Artwork that isn’t original is some referred to as poster art or wall art, artwork that isn’t original. This type of art can bring you a lot of enjoyment but has essentially very little to no resale value. Some may describe this as décor or reproduction art. Whatever you call it, it is essentially “copies” of original artwork that was never signed and numbered by the artist. So what is an original? An original is any one of kind or series of images the artist has approved as original artwork or copies of original artwork that the artist has approved, signed, and numbered to be reproduced a certain amount of times.

Let’s start with paintings. With painting originals are any artwork produced by the artist where the subject, color, and scenery is different from one painting to the next. Paintings can be somewhat similar in subject as long as it is clear that they are different from other another, each painting is a one of a kind original painting. If however the artist is painting, not printing, the same painting over and over again essentially he is creating multiple copies of the same image or an edition. Editions are the same image multiple times. Editions are still originals but demand that the artist declare the number of item in the series and how many images there are in the series in total. So you should see in the corner of any edition print, painting, sculpture or what have you the number of the item and the number of originals. It would be in a fraction like 5/250 this means you have the 5th image of a 250 image edition (each of the 250 images are original and of the same value). With paintings anything that isn’t numbered should be a one of a kind original piece of artwork. If there are multiple copies that exist of a particular painting and they aren’t identified with an edition number it is classified as wall art. They are not original.

Sometimes the print market can be a little trickier. It is the same rules though generally. There are two types of prints what is referred to as original hand pulled prints and limited edition artist approved prints. Hand pulled prints are originals created by an artist that was meant to be created in multiples. They are signed and numbered by the artist. The entire series is considered original. In this category you have woodcuts, etchings, engravings and lithographic prints. Limited edition prints are created by original works of art from paintings and hand pulled prints. These are still signed and number by the original artist giving permission for these prints to be made. In this category you have limited edition prints and canvas prints. The important thing is the artist gives his signature to show these copies are approved and how many are approved.

If artworks is copied and not signed or numbered then it is considered a poster, wall art, or décor art and not original or assumed to have been copied without permission of the artist is therefore an open edition copy and has no value. Open editions are the same as posters they are reproductions or copies only without any value. Any prints outside an edition are also posters or décor art. This includes artist proofs or prints outside the original number of approved print run number. This understanding this will help you the next time you visit an art gallery or outdoor art venue.