Cryla - Mixing Colours

A basic palette is normally made up of two primary colours from the far ends of the shade spectrum. Therefore a green shade and a red shade yellow, a yellow shade and a blue shade red and a red shade and a green shade blue. The reason for choosing these colours is so that clean in-between shades can be obtained. If you mix a green shade yellow with a green shade blue you get a clean green colour, however if you mix a red shade yellow with a red shade blue you get a muddy green colour. Therefore a basic mixing beginner palette would be:
mixing basics
From the colours listed above you would be able to achieve almost every colour; the inorganic palette would give you subtle tones and the organic palette would give you intense mixes. However, you can use combinations from both lists to obtain your basic palette as many artists do.
One point that may be seen from this is if you only need 10 to 14 colours to mix every colour, why is there a range of 87 colours available in Cryla Artists' Acrylics? The simple reason is this: painting and colour mixing is an art form and not a science. Therefore each artist has their own preferred set of basic colours.
Moreover, it is hard to mix a green, for example, to exactly the same colour every time. However, you can be assured that the blended greens in the Cryla Artists' Acrylic range are always going to produce the same colour every time and from one tube to the next. Sometimes you can require a colour for a specific type of work or a colour could inspire you to create a certain painting. A botanical painter would require more purples and violets in subtle shades for their paintings for instance.
There are a few more colours that artists add to their basic palette as these greatly aid colour mixing. These are:
Phthalo Green A Clean transparent green that makes a good base for all greens; when mixed with Lemon Yellow or Manganese Blue Hue it creates intense greens. Mixing Phthalo Green with Bismuth Yellow or Coeruleum creates more natural greens.
Yellow Ochre Great for reducing the intensity of organic colours and creating warmth in a painting, hard to mix from other colours.
Burnt Sienna Again hard to mix from other colours, this rich reddish earth colour helps reduce intensities and gives another level to greens.
Burnt Umber Earthy natural brown colour that is hard to create from other colours helps cool colours and reduces intensities.
Payne's Grey This is not black as such, the blue undertones make it ideal for shading and it reduces beautifully in white to give a superb range of natural greys.
Titanium and Zinc White Titanium for highlighting and Zinc White for mixing.
  • Mix as few colours/piments as possible. The more pigments you mix together the more likely you are to create dirty colours. Try and limit your colour mixes to mainly two colours with only a touch of a third. Be careful as some colours are already mixtures of pigments, so additional colour should be added sparingly.
  • Mix similar colours together. Mixing a red shade blue with a blue shade red is going to yield far better purples and violets than if you mix a yellow shade red and a green shade blue.
  • Use earth colours to reduce the intensity and colour rather than blacks or whites.
On the right you can download a PDF of the Theory of Mixing Colours to learn more about pigments, tinting strength and colour shift.

Colour Chart

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