How to colour match an acrylic landscape painting – mixing paint colour

How to colour match an acrylic landscape painting – mixing paint colour

Morning class, I’m Will Kemp from Will Kemp
Art School and today I’m going to show you how to mix and match colours for a landscape
painting. Here it is lets get going!
So the first thing I do is try and acess the tones that were looking at, to try and decide
which colours are going to be best to start off the mix.
So for this example video, I’m just going to show you how to mix the sky blue, this
cloud which is a muted purple and this area here where the sun is just coming through
and really bursting, making this nice warmth feel on to the painting.
So we’re going to try and match these three colours and I’m going to show you how to do
it. So when I’m assessing the blue you’ve just
got to find what colour on the colour wheel  is closest to the colour your trying to
match – so this one obviously is the blue, so let’s put out some blue and some white.
When I’m trying to judge this blue I’m looking at its value, value is just how light or how
dark something is on a grey scale. So here when I look at this blue it is closer
to the white than it is to the black, so to try and match it I’m going to start with some
of the white. Blues always alot higher tinting strength
than the white, so you can add just a small amount, see how I just scrape a bit and mix
that in. Okay, that’s still too light, we still need
to add a bit more of the blue to it, okay, we’re getting closer in tone but this blue
is too blue. I mean we can put a bit more blue there, but its too purpley when we look
at it. So to try and knock that back were going to add something to the blue to make
it not as bright. So now I’ve added some Burnt umber and this
looks very dark but in fact is a very useful colour. Burnt umber has got an orange base
to it, the complementary colour of blue is orange, so to mute it down we need to add
a bit of its complement but instead of using the bright orange I’m just going to add a
touch of the Burnt umber. So you can see how that has greyed that tone
down so now that’s a lot closer, it might need a bit more of the blue back in it but
for getting it quite close, that’s a perfect colour to start with.
So the next colour we’ve got down is this area of the clouds here.
Clouds can be tricky to paint as your brain will often tell you that they have to be
light and bright and all the colours of the rainbow mostly towards grey but when we look
at a sunset  to really get that contrast, to make this white here of the sun coming
through really look bright, you’ve got to make sure you go dark enough on this area
of the cloud. So if we look at the local colour of the cloud
we can see its a purpley hue in comparison to this blue so we’re going to need something
to make a purple. We won’t be able to do it with these three colours so were going
to have to introduce a red. To mix this purple I’m going to start with
a bit of the blue, a bit of this red and then some white.  
Okay, so in terms of it’s hue as in it’s colour its pretty close to parts of this you
see parts of that area there on the cloud, maybe parts here, it’s quite close especially
over in that side. This is quite a useful colour to have for this painting, so what
I’ll often do if I’d mixed this and it wasn’t absolutely the colour I was after but
is still quite useful. I’d make a little pile of it there, drag
some of the paint off, and just add some more to this one,knowing I’ll be able to use
that colour in the rest of the painting, so now with that darker tone that kinda blends
in pretty well – that’s good to go!  So now for this final colour down here, this
quite muted orange. We’re going to use red and a yellow to mix
that, but of course with these we cant, so we’re going to have to add a yellow, and
we’re going to use some Cad yellow light. So because its lighter, Im going to start
with the white again, oh, I’ve got a bit of yellow on there thats ok, ok, defiantly defiantly
too yellow, so we need to make it more towards orange, so add some of the red.
For some parts of this that’s quite nice, quite a good colour to have as a base, again
I might need to go a bit lighter for it so I’ll keep alot of this colour, add some
more white to this pile and this is starting to what I call colour strings.
Colour strings are when you have one mass tone of colour and then you add slightly more,
slightly more white so you get a tonal range of colours which is called a tonal string.
You’ll notice that when you add white to a colour it brings out the purpley hues and
knocks back the warmer yellows and the reds, so now when we look at that we see that its
quite close there. It might need to be toned down a bit, so to
tone down this colour here I’ll add a bit of the Burnt umber to it, only a small amount
and what that’s just done is just mute it down.
If you want to learn more about colour mixing and painting have a look at my website at

58 thoughts on “How to colour match an acrylic landscape painting – mixing paint colour

  1. very nice and informative! I would have used a cobalt blue for the sky. I find it lends towards a grey a lot better. To each his own. Great videos.

  2. I can't tell you how much you've helped me, without sounding like I'm exaggerating. I've looked at other tutorials before, but the way they taught, their skills, and the way they spoke, couldn't hold my attention. My level has gone up dramatically after watching a few videos. Y_Y)b Thanks so~ much.

  3. You're welcome.

    Great to hear your painting skills have improved, I'm about to do a new step by step on you tube so keep those artistic eyes peeled!


  4. I love the close up examples. I am not a beginner but it is always good to be reminded
    of taking my time to really see the values.

  5. Great video! Not only were you engaging, but you explained everything you were doing and the fundamentals behind those techniques. I have to check out all of your videos now! Thanks!

  6. Hi Will, I am going to use your video to teach my art students (begining painters ) how easy it is to mix colors. I think it will relieve them of their fears. Thanks for your great teaching.

  7. Hi Vicki, this tutorial would be a great choice, with a few good mixes under their belts their confidence should really grow,

  8. These are easily some of the most useful, detailed, no-promotional-bullshit painting tutorials on youtube. I swear I was always expecting a cut half way through the video "for the full lesson, buy my dvds blahblah…" as most of the shitty stuff one seem to find here.

  9. I 'm good in pencil sketches but not that good in paintings and so in pursuit to learn this…. This is the first video that I watched for learning it and I think I am really really very lucky to land into the right video on the very first click… I will definitely watch all your videos and will send you my first good painting ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Will.

  10. Hey Narayanan,

    You're very kind to say so,really pleased you found the video helpful.

    Looking forward to seeing your results from the tutorial,



  11. Hi Will. Do you have a video(s) on advanced color theory and anything else that might improve my color choices as well as my work at the same time? I've been painting for years in oils. Just now trying acrylics. Accomplished artist. Thanks.

  12. Hi Lowell, I do have course on simple colour mixing, but it might not be advanced as you'd need if you've been painting for a while. It does go into slightly more subtle mixing techniques, but might be too basic.


  13. i like ur video very much.
    ur video helped to improve my painting n give me the confidence to do it with acrylic n oils

  14. learnt too much abt mixing colors together, i was a bit worried of how to get that muted orange color, thanks a lot that was really helpful!!

  15. Thank you! I'm new to this acrylic thing. And I'm trying to do like a sunset and it's reflecting and this really helped! Thanks will!

  16. This is the first year i have painted since the 90's. Mixing colors without turning into dull colors or mud has been my problem. This has surely helped. Thank You so much! Keeping my pallette net an organize is another thing.ย 

  17. Thanks Will, very helpful. You didn't cover it in this video, but how are you keeping your paint from drying up while mixing your colors?

  18. Will this is a great gift of instruction. great accent u have.where in the uk did you find that? If I ever get anyone who wants to pay anything for one of my painting u can be sure I will be making a donation

  19. seriously good videos. went to art school and have been painting for years and this is still VERY informative and every video I watch of yours I learn something new and valuable

  20. hi will, thank you this is very helpful to me, i am attempting a storm painting over a pier at dusk and there are lots of purplish blues and deep greys….the sky is a dark bluish grey like the colour in the landscape above, i am having trouble getting that dark bluish grey colour…have you any suggestions please….thanks in advance……..

  21. Very nice Will, thank you. On the occasions where I am looking for that typical bright blue sky color, I use the blue, white, and a very small amount of a blue toned green. It usually works pretty well. I like your method of toning down the brightness also.

  22. Great video! I think you did a great job of explaining ๐Ÿ™‚

    How did you get your acrylics to stay so moist and workable? I have trouble getting it to stay wet because it dries so fast

  23. Thank you Will, you have a gift of not only the art but of a clear thinker and consequently narrator. Well set-out and thought through lessons, really appreciate you taking the time to do all of this and pass on the knowledge you have received.
    All the best!

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