If I know Color Mixing Tips …

It’s always interesting and sometimes funny when experiencing some art students’ attitudes. They think if they know how to mix the colors, they can do paintings well.
Is it true?
If we know few tips about color mixing, does it helps us to do painting well? To find answer for this question first let us explore what is color mixing.

If you mix white to a color it is a Tint.

If you mix black to a color it is a Shade.

If you add its complementary color to the color, it is Grey or Tone.

 (Colors on exact opposites of the color wheel are known as complementary

 colors. See the color wheel given below)

These three things will play in any painting, whether it is realistic art or abstract art.
Mixing these colors as tints, shades and greys, is it really difficult? Not at all. Few days of practice of mixing those colors will give anyone familiarity with them. Then they will know how to mix colors, how to get tints, shades and greys. Even after that their paintings don’t turn out well!  What’s the problem? What’s the reason for their failure? The reason … Lack of understanding about color.

Mixing color is only a part of the process of understanding color. While color is an ocean, mixing color is only a wave. Studying a wave is not enough to understand the mysteries of a Sea. Studying wave means you are standing at the shore. From there you have to enter into the sea. From there …. you have to travel to the deep dark mysteries of the ocean.

To know about the ocean of color we have to start with Color as a Value. Many great artist say that ” Value is more important than color. If you get your value right your color also will be right.

When we paint a picture with variations between black and white that is value scale. Usually 5 to 9 value variations would be in that scale. Depending upon the subject and taste of the artist, he will choose a few values in that scale.

One of my students Hyma painted these two pictures with grey value scale.


  The head of the tribal woman is painted with full value scale that means almost 9.
Tribal Woman


Two Women

Semi abstract painting of two women painted with 4 values.

Same thing if we do in color, there we have to see every color in a grey scale. That is Color as a Value.

I will discuss about this and about some more in coming weeks …..

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