Now that we have discussed care and feeding of brushes, let’s move on to color mixing.

Mixing Colors Together and Shading:

Mix your paints with a palette knife or dedicated mixing brush (one you use for mixing paints only and do not paint with). This will give you a much cleaner brush stroke in two ways.
The first way is if you mix your paints with your brush you can bend or crimp the bristles making that nice point on the end of your brush go completely away.
The second way is the paint on the inside of the bristles might not be as thoroughly mixed as the paint on the exterior bristles of the brush, giving you 2 to 3 colors in one brush stroke instead of just one color. This can be a really cool effect, or a really disastrous one depending on the look you’re going for.

If the project you’re working on has a lot of shadows in it, and you just can’t seem to mix the darker color that matches those areas with your black paint added to the mid-tone colored paint, instead of adding black to it, add just a bit of the complementary color. What’s a complementary color you ask? They are colors that lye opposite each other on the color wheel. Examples: red and green are complements of each other, blue and orange are complements of each other, yellow and purple are complements of each other. (We will be discussing Color Theory in future posts, so stay tuned!)
Side 1 Color Wheel
Side 2 Color Wheel

If you mix red with green, or mix blue with orange, or mix yellow and purple, you will get a kind of muddy looking color. Each will be a different color of mud when finished mixing, but all will be a dark brownish color. (Note: Don’t mix red, green, blue, orange, yellow and purple all together. Mix only the 2 colors listed together.)

If you put a dab of white paint in these muddy colors, each will become a different color of gray. When you mix these colors for shadows, use just a little, tiny bit of the complementary color you are working with for the color of the shadow. If it’s not dark enough, add a tiny bit more until you get the color you want. Just like cooking with spices, it’s easier to add than to subtract.

Just a side note on color mixing, I’ve heard a lot of artists talk about how they mix their own colors, and when they finally get to the color they want, they have a heck-of-a-lot of that color left over. If you start with the lightest color you’re going to mix with on your palette first, then add the darker color(s) into the lighter color, you usually end up with a lot less paint. It takes more white (or a lighter color) to make a darker color lighter, than it takes a darker color to make a lighter color darker. Example: If you mix a tiny amount of purple into a larger amount of white, you’ll get lavender or light purple faster and with a smaller amount of paint then if you mixed the white into the purple.

That’s all for today. Next week, we will be talking about white work.

Hopefully Helpful,