I had so much fun mixing these neutral paint swatches from my set of primaries! I could have sat there for hours doing it, even though the colors started to repeat themselves. This exercise was inspired by a video course by Pat Weaver, who does a great job of showing that just about any color is possible from the primaries plus white.
|By adding white (part way into the top row), these swatches became a lot more dense and creamy.|
|This set doesn’t have any white mixed in and the colors are less neutral, but I like how they’re much more muted versions of the full strength primaries.|
I was fascinated to see how the color mixes are more transparent before the white is added. My full set of 6 Blick Studio Acrylics came with Titanium White, Mars Black, Cadmium Red Medium Hue, Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Ultramarine Blue, and Phthalo Green. For these swatches, I used the red, yellow, blue, and black. For the white, I used Golden Heavy Body Titanium White.
Lately I’ve been thinking about what I actually want to be painting… I haven’t come to a clear conclusion, but I do know I’m more drawn to studies in value and neutral colors than most people seem to be. Often I hear that what people love about painting is bold, bright color. I find myself being much more interested in muted colors, subtle textural qualities, and value contrast — whether it’s strong or slight contrast. Even in college, during my photography class I was way more interested in black and white photography than color. I’m sure it has to do with my personality tendencies, which favor direct and straight-forward over provocative or dramatic.
Another reason I wanted to play with color mixing is because I want to do some experimenting using burnt umber and other earth tones for toned grounds and underpainting but I didn’t want to have to keep buying paints. Now I know I can just mix those colors myself!