Are you aware how you might be sabotaging your color mixing? Do any of these color mixing and color theory myths seem familiar? Many painters experience frustration with color without realizing they have sabotaged themselves. You…
1. Refuse to Know Your Pigments. It makes sense that anyone in the painting business should keep up with their industry, right? But many artists don’t have a true understanding and are unaware of the many ways their pigments work.
The good news is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to learn about your pigments. Every manufacturer provides information about their pigments. However, you do need to learn the 5 characteristics of each of your colors and the only way to do that is spend the them getting to know them. I like to approach each tube of paint as I do each brush and palette knife I use – each one has its own personality.
The image above shows how you can assess the transparency of your pigments no matter your medium. Paint a strip of black acrylic paint, let it dry and then with one brush stroke using paint straight from the tube, paint a stripe of each pigment across the black paint. Discoveries will undoubtedly happen.
2. Insist that using and a mixing color is intuitive. Did you learn to ride by intuition? Did you just jump on it and ride off in the wind? Most likely you needed some instruction, coaching and perhaps training wheels. After several crashes, bruises and growing physically stronger, you were shouting, “Look mom, no hands!” and riding a bike became intuitive. The same principle works with using and mixing color.
3. Believe that Creating Color Mixing Charts are Boring. You may believe they are a waste of time. I wish I had a quarter for every color student of mine who has proclaimed, “These are fun!” and “Wow, I have learned so much for from these color mixing charts.” Each student gains insight on the potential of their colors. Their confidence in color mixing and color theory begins to rise significantly.
This color chart shows the potential of mixing complementary colors in different ratios. The right side of each swatch has a tad of white added. Do you see the potential?
4. Refuse to Experience the Joy of Mixing Color: I have noticed that many painters use the same pigments in their palettes every day. When was the last time you tried a limited palette or introduced a new pigment? …Then created a color chart to see all of the possibilities?
5. Resistant to Take Color Classes: Unfortunately, there are not enough classes about color available to artists. However, with persistence they can be found – live and online. Books are also a great resource. If you see a color class, I highly recommend that you take it or at least check to see if someone you know recommends it. It is also true that many who do teach color only teach using their specific tubes of paint, which is not the most effective approach to teaching color. I believe that we each have our unique color palette and need to identify it and then learn how to maximize those color to communicate our visual voice.
I encourage you to not remain in the dark. Color theory has a rich history. It does take time and practice to learn. I know from experience that the rewards far out weigh the effort.
Painting with impact is built on a sustained effort of persistence, faith in oneself and the love of experimenting!
Color is the first aspect of your painting that viewers respond to. Let’s make your paintings as effective and significant as possible by studying and experimenting with your colors!
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