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Friday, November 11, 2016

Tips For Mixing Color

Does Color Mixing Drive You Crazy?

Here's a tip to help out.

Make some color charts

These are just a few of the color charts I've made.

I made this one for landscapes.
I took every green and brown I had to make this chart.
If I'm looking for a particular color, like a warm brown,
I can find it on the chart,
and I know you can't see it,
but I have the colors I used marked
 across the top and down the left side.
Then I can tell how I got that color.

This was made from very bright colors.

This is one of the things I always teach new students, whether in my online classes or my art camps.

How to make a color chart.
1.  Use any heavy paper or posterboard 
2.  Put a grid on it with a ruler
3.  Decide what colors you're using.
4.  Across the top fill each square in sequential colors. (light to dark)
5.  Down the left you can do the same colors or different colors.
6.  You fill each block with the combination you would get from taking a color from the top and one from the side and put it in the corresponding box.  
7.  Let's say in the 5th box across the top you have green
and the 3rd box down the left is red.  You find the box it goes in by going down the 5th row until it intersects with the 3rd row.  
8.  Fill up the whole page that way.

I don't have black on my palette.  I mix my darkest colors to make my own black.  But recently I was looking for a green and remembered you can make an interesting green by mixing yellow and black.  So I bought a Mars black and I made a color chart using my warm colors.

Here's a video of that process.

(You may have to turn your sound up pretty far.  
It was very early in the morning and I didn't want to wake up the whole house making this video.)

Something happens in your brain once you make a color chart.  After you've made it, you seldom need to use it.  
As you create colors you begin to remember how you made them.  I have all sorts of color charts, large and small.
I keep them, just in case.  That one for landscapes is invaluable.

Here's a cheat sheet about acrylic paint I created just for you.
Click the picture below to gain access.


  1. You did a wonderful job on your color charts.
    When I introduce a new color to my palette I have to do it all over again, but well worth it.

  2. Thanks Julie, I appreciate your comment and as always your encouragement. They are a fair amount of work, but as you say, they are so worth it.


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About Me

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Ghent, Kentucky, United States
I'm a nature artist and I love to paint old barns, rivers and lakes, trees and fence rows and flowers. I work almost daily. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at and there is also a tab across the top of my blog for available paintings and one for small paintings with buy now buttons. You can also purchase through my Etsy shop using the name of Fine Nature Art. . Thank you so much for stopping by.