A Guide to Mixing Colors – Acrylic Paint

Mixing colors is a great way to get a wider range of paint colors from a limited selection. This is called a limited palette. That is where it is great to know how color mixing can work for you to create a wide range of colors.

Color chart used in mixing colors, acrylic paint mixing on mixed media pad

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We are not going to address color theory here or what does red and green make, or what blue and yellow make.

This is just a simple way to mix a certain set of colors to make more and save money while you enjoy your painting journey!

Color Mixing a Set

This session is about how to mix the colors in the paint set I recommended so you can see how versatile it can be.

What I recommend for the beginner

Best Acrylic Paints

If you’re new to the world of painting, the vast array of brands, colors, and types of paint can be overwhelming. Here I share what my favorite acrylic paint for beginners is and why.

I will share how I make it as simple as possible and easy for you to have a reference when you want to create a color for a particular painting.

Make a Grid

Start by making a grid on your paper. I am using my Canson Mix Media pad. I create the grid with a ruler and pen.

These Mix Media pads come in several sizes to get what works for you. I had a larger one which may have worked better for this but it was filled already.

I like larger squares so I can really see a color, but you can make smaller squares so as to fit more on one page.

Start Mixing Colors

Choose the first color to mix. I started with the Brilliant Ultramarine from the Plaid Folk Art Set

Put out a small puddle of paint of the Brilliant Ultramarine blue and the color you are mixing with it. In this case, I am mixing the Medium Gray.

mixing blue with gray, color mixing on Richeson  gray matters palette paper

You can use a palette knife or you can brush mix. Here I am showing you how to mix with the palette knife. (towards the end I share how I brush mix too)

This is the palette knife set I have and use.

Mix approximately even amounts of the paint colors together thoroughly.

Blue and gray mixed on palette paper and mixed media pad with grid and mixed paint colors

Using a flat paint brush the mixed color into the top square. Use the size brush you feel comfy with. In this, I am using a flat #10 from this brush set.

Next mix more gray paint into the previous mix. Again brush the new mix into the lower square.

brushing color on to a grid on mix media pad with a paint brush

Again, mix in more gray and paint the next square down.

Adding White

Sometimes you get to a point where you don’t see the color change very much, that is when I may start to add some white to see what will happen from there.

Adding white to gray blue color mix, brush mixing

If you can see my blurry brush above, I used the brush to mix in some white but you can use the palette knife if you prefer.

You can do this with each color in the set to find what colors you can easily blend. If you look at the photos you can see a lovely terra cotta that was created, some beautiful sage type greens, and a deep purple.

All of which you can use in different paintings without buying other colors.

But there is a couple paint colors I do suggest you may want to add to your collection that are ‘go to’ colors for me and that is Burnt Umber and Yellow Ocher.

Plaid Folkart carries both in the matte finish and the multi-surface which is more satin finish.

Now you have a reference to look at if you want to mix a particular color that gives you a guideline of how to get there.

paint color mixing chart with red play arrow and text overlay, color mixing acrylic paint, pamela groppe art

Happy Painting Everyone!

Please enjoy and share!

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