How to mix orange? Of the three secondaries – purple, green and orange – isn’t orange the easiest one to mix? You just grab a yellow and a red and “Viola!” you have orange. There’s not much to it, right?
You might be surprised to see how many different oranges you can mix.
As we all know, not all yellow and reds are created equal. Some reds are quite orange in hue while others carry blue in them.
In the yellow family, we have yellows with green in them and many with red in them.
I have painted various swatches of yellows and reds for comparison. Isn’t it interesting to see them grouped together so that you can compare their similarities and subtle differences? To learn about creating a pigment chart of your colors, visit my blog post, “How to be Intimate With Your Colors & Why.”
How do YOU Mix Orange?
If you wanted a bright orange, which yellow and red would you choose?
If you wanted a dull orange the same question holds.
When looking at the below mixtures, can you see that the bottom orange (lower right) is brighter than the mixed orange above it? Why is this?
As I have often stated in my color classes — live and online — one of the keys to color mixing is fully understanding the role that complementary colors play. When a pair of complementary colors are mixed they immediately start to neutralize or dull each other.
As you know, the opposite or complement of orange is blue. If either your yellow or red carries a hint of blue in it, your resulting orange is going to be dull. It will not be your brightest orange. Granted the color orange is inherently bright, but in your painting it is helpful to know how to mix a variety of oranges.
Where might you apply the use of a bright versus a dull orange? Write in an example in the comments below.
If you want to explore the possibilities of oranges further, try the different yellows and reds you own. Also mix a green-yellow with an orange-red to discover the subtle oranges you can mix. Enjoy!
The next time you want to mix orange, grab the yellow and a red that will result in the mixture you want versus just mixing the most handy yellow and red without thinking.
To learn more about color mixing, visit my Craftsy online course, Acrylic Color Mixing Made Easy! All media are welcome because the principles of color mixing applies to oils, watercolors and acrylics.
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