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Color Mixing Exercise.

Creating a chart, like the one below, is an excellent way to get acquainted with your paints and what colors you can create from them. It may also save you some money in the long run. No need to buy every color paint under the sun if you know how to mix your own!


Materials you’ll need:

  • Watercolor sheet or pad

  • Ruler

  • Pencil

  • Watercolor or Gouache**

  • Paint Brush

  • 2 cups for water

  • Palette or surface to mix on

**You can do this with any or all of your paints.I chose a select few from my Sennelier watercolor half pan set to work with.

Start off by measuring out the proper amount of columns and rows for the number of paints you are using. I chose 8 - so I've created 8 columns and 8 rows and they make one inch boxes to paint in. You don't have to be so exact with your measurements if you don't want to be, just be mindful of how much space you have on the paper and how many colors you're going to be using.

Leave space on the top and sides to write in the names of the colors you’re using and to leave a little dot swatch of the unmixed color for reference. Be sure to write them in the same order on each side.

Including the color names makes this a tool for future quick reference when mixing.. so hold on to this sheet! You're going to be surprised at the kinds of colors you can create.

The way to fill in each square is pretty simple! You're going to know which colors to use by reading which color columns and rows intersect in that space.

The colors that run diagonal down the middle from top left to bottom right, will all be the pure unmixed colors. I started by filling those squares in first with a good layer of paint and then worked my way down from left to right.

You're going to be creating a dark side and light side to your chart as well. I chose the bottom half as my light or more transparent and top as the dark or opaque. The only difference between the light and dark boxes is the amount of water used. Doing this will help you understand the range each color mixed can give you.

When mixing the colors, use equal parts of each. Be sure to clean your brush between each color and load your brush with clean water! Otherwise you'll end up with some muddy colors. Also change out your water if you notice your cleaning cup getting too dirty.

If you want to learn more about your paints and their color mixing possibilities, try making mixing charts for each color you have. I have specific color palettes I use a lot for my pet portraits so I’m planning on making a mixing chart with those! My goal is to add more depth to my painting and color usage! What would you like to explore?


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