Sunday 31 July 2016

2016 #14 Mixing Ideas {by Liz Borer}

 2016 Topic 14: Colour Mixing

Hi everyone Liz here with some thoughts on colour mixing...

You may have noticed in some of my posts that I often mix colours to achieve other colours that I want. I am never fully satisfied with the range of colours in any range of paints, pencils or inks that I have and I always want more! However for some of you out there I know that mixing colours can be confusing. I hope this post will help you understand how to mix colours in an easy method.

What you might not realise is that you probably already mix colours without realising it! Every time that you apply another colour over the base colour the base colour has been changed. For example using distress inks or transparent paint over paint or paper changes the base colour, in effect mixing them to create another colour.
So, I am going to give you some ideas to start things off. If you start mixing colours why not keep a chart of the colours you mix, rather like the charts below, so you remember what you did, and how you did it.

When I am trying to get to the colour I want I start with two colours and slowly add one to the other. I recommend adding the darker colour to the lighter colour, especially if you want a pale shade, if you mix the other way round you will end up with a huge puddle of colour! 
I start with a small puddle of the paler colour and add the darker a little at a time. The real problem is that it's not possible to say exactly how much to add. The picture below shows why.

I have used Nougat instead of white so it shows up better, it's a very pale colour that I often use because it warms up the other colours I'm mixing with it. I added a drop of the darker paint at a time (pick up a blob on the end of the paintbrush) and recorded the result.
As you can see, for each colour I had to add different amounts of colour to get similar results. 
Obviously the blue is darker but even so, it's difficult to predict the proportions needed and the only way to find out is to play with colours and find out.

Here are some ideas about mixing pastel colours. In all the mixes, in all these samples, I have added a little of the darker colour at a time and recorded the result. In this picture I have used not just white but also different pale colours mixed with the same dark colour. They all create pastel colours but are all slightly different.
Notice how Nougat creates warm pinks and Hint of Mint creates almost purple pinks.

More pastels, but the last two I have used Captain Peacock with Cheesecake and Nougat. Captain Peacock is a blue-green so by adding Cheesecake the colour gets more yellow producing a warmer green.
Adding Nougat, a very slightly pink colour, has created a cooler green.

Another idea here. 

Some of the PaperArtsy paints are opaque and some transparent, so what happens when they are mixed?
This time I added the paler, more opaque colour to the transparent colour. In fact the paler the colour the more opaque it is because the more white is in the paint. It is possible to get pale colours with transparent paints by adding water to them. This is because the White of the paper shows through the paint. This creates rich glowing effects similar to Watercolour paints.

The first thing that happens if you add opaque colour to transparent is that the paint gets more opaque and sometimes looks slightly darker. After that, the paint gets more opaque and paler.

So I've looked at making colours lighter, what about darker?
Here's some ideas, the most obvious colour to add is black but this can make the new colour rather dull. Try other dark colours as shown all of which create darker colours which are often very interesting.

The bottom three mixtures show what happens when opposite colours on the colour wheel are mixed (orange / blue , red / green and yellow/ purple).
This is a very good way of darkening colours but keeping them fresh.

Here I've mixed transparent colours only. The variation in the colours is lovely, bright and clear. The variation in colours just using two colours is often amazing.

Here's another selection of transparent colour mixes.
I think the obvious lesson here is that if you want clear, bright colours, these are the mixes needed.
If you want softer, more pastel or muted colours use at least one opaque colour.

These collection of colour mixes show the wide range of colours that can be obtained when mixing colours together. 

It also shows that it's possible to create a design with only a few colours. For example, Orchid, Granny Smith and Caribbean Sea create a wide range of pinks, purples greens and browns!

This is just fantastic to see the process you use, but also the combinations are so unusual. Who would think to mix coral and limelight!! I love this system, and I can see making reference cards can be ever so useful as a reference tool! Thanks Liz, this is a brilliant! ~Leandra

We would love to see how you interpret this Colour Mixing topic by linking what you make to our 2016 Challenge #14: Colour Mixing, on this page HERE.

All of our bloggers love to see your twist on their ideas,  particularly if you were inspired directly by their post.

All links go in the draw to win a £50 voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Colour Mixing link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, Aug 7th 2016. The winner will be announced 2  hours later at 19:00.


Helen said...

This is so detailed Liz! Fantastic reference point, it must have taken ages

Deborah Wainwright said...

Wow thanks for this Liz, it's so useful. Love the colours you have mixed. X

Julie Lee said...

So helpful! Thanks so much for this highly informative post. x

Lauren Hatwell said...

That was really, really interesting Liz. Thanks so much. Lx

Craftyfield said...

Wow that's some serious colour chart! Lots of unexpected mixes too.

Etsuko said...

Thank you so much Liz, this is very helpful and beautiful colours comb xx

craftimamma said...

As the others have said, thanks for a very informative and useful post Liz. It's made me realise I do a lot of colour mixing instinctively but you have made the possibilities limitless with your explanations. I will have to try to remember to create charts as I go and be more adventurous about which colours to mix with which.

Lesley Xx

Mac Mable said...

Wow...did I learn a lot from this post. Thank you so much. I find it amazing and (daunting) to mix colours but this has really helped. Most surprised about mixing the transparent colours x Thanks again