WARNING! Artists’ materials are very dangerous and can cause
injury or death! Use in a well-ventilated area, read all warning labels, and keep out of
reach of children! Use at your own risk! I want to teach you how to mix colors and
how to match colors from life with oil paint. I have a silver cup sitting on this table here. The first thing to do is to figure out the various
color groups that exist in this still life. If you want to know more about color groups,
you can go watch a tutorial that’s specifically about choosing color
groups, because it’s important. In this still life, we have three color groups. We have the silver cup, the background,
and the tabletop. I’m going to start by mixing the
colors in the silver cup. We’re going to start with the very darkest color,
which is going to be black, but I can check and make sure. I have some black already painted
on my color checker, and I’m going to compare it to
the area right under the lip here… on the silver cup is definitely black. In fact, it’s blacker than black. That’s one of the first things that
I should explain to you. There’s a difference between the
range of color that we have. The darkest we can possibly
go is black paint. In real life, you can go even darker. You can look into a shadow which is
actually even darker than black paint. So, if I hold out my color checker and compare it to the area right under the lip of the cup, and it’s hard to see this in a picture,
but in real life, that shadow area on the silver cup is
actually darker than black paint. Therefore, I’m going to paint it black. Let me start by mixing some black paint. I’ve got to really make sure my brush is clean, so I always pick up a little black paint
and work it into my bristles and make sure there’s no milky, white paint
that’s going to come out and pollute my black. So clean it real good. Make sure your brush
is black, black, black. Then, I’m going to take some black paint, 60% blue, and about 40% brown. If you want a warm black, you can add more brown.
If you want a cold black, you can add more blue. I’m just going to start by mixing up some black paint, because I know I need it for this cup,
and I’m going to transfer some of it, and that will be my first step
in the silver cup. Now I’m going to paint a little line of that and I’m going to use that to make sure
that my next step is a good step. You’ll see what
I mean in a second. So here’s my black. Maybe I’ll get a
little more of that out. I’m going to run out of blue and brown
real quick here. OK, so now I’ve mixed my first step,
which was black, and the next thing I need to do is mix
one step lighter than that. The first question I’m faced with is: “How do I lighten up this black?” I can lighten it only one of two ways. I can either add white or yellow, that’s it.
I don’t have any other choice. If I need to lighten this color,
if I add yellow, it’s going to bump it over here to the
green, and orange, and yellow side. Primarily yellow. If I add, on the other hand, white, it’s going to push it over here to
the purple side. To the blue side / purple side. Keep this color wheel, and
make a duplicate of this for yourself to keep as you’re mixing colors,
to look at. If I want to lighten it up, if I add white,
it’s going to make it purple, or blue, and if I add yellow, it’s going to make it green
or down here toward the orange/yellow side. And so my question is, if I was
painting a lemon… yellow lemon, then it would be obvious.
I would add yellow to lighten it up one step. If I was painting a purple book, then I would add, most definitely, white.
That’s an obvious one. But this is neither of those, so what would I do? I would add a little bit of both, because I want to keep it right
down in the middle If I add a little bit of white and a little bit
of yellow, I’m going to be right here in the middle which is where I want to be, because
this cup is a neutral. As simple as that. Now, if you’re confused, and you’re
not sure what you should add, add a little bit of something to lighten
it up, doesn’t matter. And then when we get our color checker
out and compare it, then we can make a further adjustment. You shouldn’t be afraid.
Just go for it. Once you have something to look at, then
it’s going to be real easy to make the adjustment. You’ll see what I mean in a second. Let’s lighten this up by adding
a little bit of yellow and a little bit of white to keep it sort of neutral.
Right down the middle. The first step, or first question I have to ask, before I even think about the color, always make sure your step is in line. That’s the first priority. There’s no point in refining your color
and getting it perfect when your step is wrong. Like this is most definitely wrong, because
that is not nearly enough of a step. Add some more yellow,
and some more white, and mix that in and see what we’ve got. Not worrying about my color at this point. I”m really just trying to get
my step to be right. There’s nothing wrong if I need
to add white or yellow. When I feel like my color is getting too green, by all means, add some white
instead of more yellow. Do whatever you feel like, but the first priority is to get our step right, and then we’ll fine-tune the color,
and get it perfect. So, let’s see how this step looks. Not big enough.
Needs to be a little bigger than that. Just a little bit. So I’m just going
to take a little bit more yellow, little bit more white, and you can go watch another tutorial to find out exactly what I think
about all these colors under the tutorial about my palette. This is burnt umber, French ultramarine,
permanent alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow pale, and
titanium white. But I just call them white, yellow,
red, blue, and brown. It’s best for you to think
about color in those terms also. You only need to think of your
color in terms of: “Does it need to be more blue?”
“Does it need to be more purple?” “Does it need to be more red?”
“Does it need to be more orange?” “Does it need to be more yellow?” or
“Does it need to be more green?” Let’s see. Is that a good step? Still a little bit small, so I’m going to
bump it up one more time and it’s kind of looking…
well let’s just leave it. It might be too blue, which means
I need to add more Burnt Umber, or I could add yellow and red… orange, but burnt umber is like a dark orange. Let’s see. This is probably a good step now. So the step is good, that’s question number one. Now we’re going to look for:
“Where does this step exist in the teacup?” That’s real important to understand. Let me explain that again,
and this is really important. One of the biggest mistakes that people make
when they start to mix colors is you pick up the color,
and you paint it on your color checker, and then you hold it up,
and you start noticing things. You start saying, “Oh, wow. This color exists
over here, on the background!” Or, “Look! This color exists over there!” And you’ll find a color. Maybe you made your step too big,
or maybe you got something out of whack. Then you start to see things,
and you start noticing “Oh, look, this is down there in the table.” and you start saving these little bits of color and you end up with this palette with little
bits of color all over the place, instead of an organized palette,
like I’m about to put out. OK. So, my step is good, now I’m going to paint it
on my color checker. Here is the important thing. Once I’ve determined that my step is good,
and I’ve decided it’s a good step, period, I”m not going to worry about that anymore. The next thing, is not to hold this out and check the color where it doesn’t belong. You’ve got to move the color checker
into the exact spot where you find that the value — the brightness and the darkness —
the value of the color is the same. There’s no point judging this color
unless I’m holding it in the right spot. It’s real easy to miss that. And so, I’m going to move it around. I’ll check here, and I’ll check down here, the bottom, and I’ll just check
all over the place. Once I identify that point in the cup
where the paint is the exact same value — same brightness — as the teacup, and I’m going to
move it around to find that spot… Right here, the paint is too bright. Right here, the paint is too dark. So, somewhere between those
two there has to be a point, and it might even be hard to see,
because it’s just in transition, but move it around, and see where the
easiest place to see that color is. I think right there is the easiest spot. Once I’ve got it in the right spot, then I’m
going to make a judgement about the color. Let me repeat all of that,
because that’s important. First, I get my step right. I make sure the step’s right,
I don’t worry too much about the color. I don’t worry about the saturation, whether it’s
too yellow, or too red, or too purple. Just worry about: “Is it a good step?” Once I’ve decided it’s a good step, I move the color checker into the position
where the step matches, where the value matches. Maybe the color
doesn’t match, but the value matches. Then I make a judgement about the color. I decide “which way to I need to bump this?” Does it need to be more blue? Does it need to be more purple? Does it need to be more red?
Does it need to be more orange? Does it need to be more yellow?
Or does it need to be more green? Those are the six questions. That’s what you do every time. Usually what happens is you hold up, and you say,
“Oh, yeah. Mine looks too green.” Well, you’re done.
You’ve discovered what the difference is. But sometimes you’ll hold it up,
and you’ll think, “I don’t know. I can’t tell.” and you’re baffled. So, if you’re baffled, that’s when you
need to go through those six questions. The three primary colors,
and the three secondary colors. If you can’t answer one question,
you’ll be able to answer the next. If I look at it, and I say to myself, “Which one is more yellow?
I don’t know which one is more yellow.” “Well, which one is more blue?” And then I say, “Oh, yeah. I can see.
Mine is definitely more blue.” “The paint is definitely more blue.” “Which one is more green?”
“Oh, yeah. The paint is definitely more blue-green.” And that’s exactly what it is.
It’s more blue, and it’s more green. Now I’m going to go over to the color wheel, and I’ve decided that my paint is too blue-green.
Right here. It’s both too blue, and it looks a little too green.
It’s looks too blue-green. So, we go to the opposite side of the color wheel which is right over here, between orange and red, and so we get a reddish-orange,
or an orangey-red. We’re going to add mostly red to it,
but a little bit of yellow to get a reddish-orange. So, we’ll do exactly that.
We’ll get a lot of red and, this yellow is really powerful,
so just a tiny touch of it. There. I’ve added some reddish-orange,
which will kill the blue-green, because you always kill a color
with the color on the opposite side. So if your color is too red, you add green. Too yellow, you add purple.
Too blue, you add orange. We just added orange. Reddish-orange. And, I probably didn’t add enough. But when I do add a color to it,
I always want to check my step again, because if you add enough color,
you’ll throw your step out of line. Especially if I was adding just red, that Permanent
Alizarin Crimson would bring the color down. This is definitely closer, but I think
it needs just a little— It’s still too blue-green. Just slightly. So, we’ll add a little bit more yellow and a little bit more red. Again, I’m moving it to that point
where the value is identical, and then I judge the color, I think it still, just the slightest bit, needs to be— That is a little bit more orange than my color is. I’m thinking my step might be getting
a little dark, but we’ll check. That’s good. Let’s look at this color again. This is just one step from black and I think that’s a good color right there. OK, maybe the teeniest bit more orange. Another thing that happens when people
mix colors is if the color is really close, they’ll look at it, and they’ll think they
can see a difference, and they’ll say, “I can see there is a difference, but
I can’t tell what it is.” When it’s that close, and it’s that hard to see,
then you’ve got it. Your eye is so sensitive to difference, sometimes you think you see a difference,
but it’s so close, you can’t even tell. If it’s that close, and you can’t tell,
then you’re close enough. You really don’t have to be that perfect with it. This should be our next step. Definitely more “orangey” than it was originally. Yeah, I like that. That’s perfect. So, there’s our second step.
Our first step was black. I’ll transfer some of this over and go on to the next step. I’m going to get out a little more blue
and brown, because I’m going to need it. I’ve got some more color out.
This blue is a little runny. It will thicken up in a couple of days. We’re going to go on one step, and
we need to make sure to draw a line here so that I can check my next step
and make sure it’s good. I’m just creating some more base here
to start with. You can use burnt umber as your red, like I just did. If I add more brown to my black, then I don’t need to use the more
expensive permanent alizarin. But also, I like the way the brown mixes once you start painting. I like the way it works. I like to work with it. Let’s see how this step is. I think that’s a little bit big. So, we’re going to darken this
down a little more. Then we’ll compare the step,
and I think that’s pretty good step. Now that the step is right,
and again, let me repeat that. The first priority is getting the step right, and once we’ve determined that the step is right, then I go and check the color. When I move the color checker to that
position where the value is identical, and then judge the color, it looks to me like my color
is the slightest bit too “orangey”. It needs to be a little more blue. So I add a little bit of blue to that. The blue is going to darken it down,
so I’m going to add a little bit of white, which will bring out the blue. I make sure my step is still good. Which it is, that’s a good step.
If anything, it’s maybe a little bit too big. I think it’s OK. Now, when I hold it exactly at that point, before I judge the color I’m going to
identify where the value is the same. Once I identify that, then I’m going
to ask myself if the color is different. To me, it looks just perfect. I’m going to paint a line of that, so that I have something to compare my step to. Transfer some of this over, and that’s step number three. We’re going to lighten that pile up one more step. Little bit of white. Little bit of yellow. We’ll see if that’s big enough.
I don’t think it is. Yep. Not big enough. More white. More yellow.
Maybe more white than yellow. Check the step again. That’s a pretty good step.
It’s maybe a little bit too small. What we’re doing is we’re creating a base.
These are not the final colors that we’ll use. This is just a palette that
we’re going to use to then mix even more colors when we paint. But it’s going to be real easy
if we start with this base. Then, to adjust a color, when you start
to paint, if you notice there’s more red, like a red glow down in the bottom,
you can easily take what you’ve got, and just shift it around a little bit
with other colors. Let’s see how this step is.
I think that’s a good step. Our step is good, and we’ll move it into the position where the value is the same,
which is right there in the middle. And I think our color is good. That’s a good color.
Paint a line in for our next step. And we’ll just lighten that up one more step. We could go a little bit lighter than that.
It could be a little bit bigger. OK, so that’s a good step. Now I’m going to move it into position. If I go up inside the ellipse there,
I can see this color over on the left side and I think that’s just perfect. We’ll paint a line of that and
move this one over. I need a little more base color here,
so I’m going to put in some blue and white. Or, rather, blue and brown. Just put in a bunch of color
and see what I’ve got. Let’s see how this step looks. That’s a good step.
Maybe a little bit more than that. Well… I think that’s pretty good. I’m looking for the position
where the value is the same, I think that mine is just the
slightest bit too green. Just barely. I’m going to add a little bit of red,
because on the color wheel, opposite of green is red. Make sure my step is still good. I guess it’s good. That still looks a little bit too green. I’m going to add a little bit of white
to counteract the red, because the red will darken it. I think that’s just perfect. Paint a line of that for our next step. Transfer some of this over. We’re going to just keep on going.
We’re going to lighten it up one more step. And again I need to get some more base in here. Let’s see how our step is.
And I think it’s not big enough. It needs to be bigger than that. Add more white. I think just white. I don’t want my color to get too green. Well, maybe a little bit of yellow. So that’s a pretty good step.
Now I’ll check this color on the silver cup. And this color is very close
to getting up near the shine. It’s really hard to see. What I’m going to do is hold it in position. If I hold it on the shine,
I can see that my color is too dark. But if I hold it just under that,
I can see that my color is too light. So I know that somewhere right in there the color exists, right beneath the shine. So I hold it there, and
I try to make a judgement about the color, and in my case, I think it’s exactly right. That is probably the last color
we’ll mix other than the shine. The shine, the easiest way—
Let me just go ahead and mix it. Let’s take some pure white paint and just look at it in terms of a step next to that. That’s a pretty big step, but we’re going to tint it just a little bit. I could start with just pure white. Put it on my color checker,
and all I’m going to ask myself… Very typically, the shine on something
is going to be brighter than you can possibly mix.
It’s actually brighter than white paint. What I’ll do is I’ll hold white paint out and if the shine is—
It looks like it’s pretty close, actually. But I’m just looking for the difference in the color. And I notice the shine is a little bit more yellow-orange. Just slightly. I’m going to take pure white paint —
and this is the way I always handle shines — pure white paint, with a clean brush, and the only thing I’m going
to tint it with is just a little— And this is the shift. If you notice that
your shine was more blue-green, then you would add blue and yellow
and nothing else. But in this case, my shine
is a little bit more “orangey”. That’s what I see when I hold it out
and compare it to white. It looks a little bit more orange-yellow. I’m going to add just a touch
of yellow to pure white. Just to tint the white. It shouldn’t be anything else. Maybe a little bit of red because I said “orangey”. But in other words, no blue in there,
because that’s just going to darken it down. Which defeats the purpose, we want
to make the lightest color we can that has just a little bit of a
yellow-orange shift to it. And that’s too much color. It’s just about a light as white paint is,
but it just has a tint to it. And that’s what we want. Otherwise, you end up painting these
shines that are just white, white, and they just don’t have the flavor of the light. And this yellow white has the flavor of the light. Which now it does. Now I feel like they
both have that sort of “orangey-ness” to them. That’ll be our very lightest color, which is really the shine.
And we’ll put that over here. OK, so that’s that.
And then the other colors are the table, and the background. And it’s the same thing. I could show it to you, but its the same deal. You start with the very darkest color, you work up in the same steps, all the way until you get to the
lightest color in that section. Every time I check a color, the very first thing you do
is make sure your step is good, and once your step is good, you hold it out,
find that place where the value’s the same. Once you find that point,
then you judge the color, and the only questions you have to ask are “Which one is more yellow?” “Which one is more green?”
“Which one is more blue?” “Which one is more purple?”
“Which one is more red?” “Which one is more orange?” That’s it.
Those are the only questions you have. Which one is lighter and which one is darker, and then the color by asking
those six questions. And that’s it.
That’s all there is to color mixing. There’s some basic rules that I’ve written out,
which you can look at. You can write these down. These are basic rules that
you can keep in front of you. Keep a color wheel in front of you,
and keep these basic rules in front of you. The only other thing I should talk about is if you have something like…
let’s say you have an orange. Like this orange.
And one part of the orange is green, and one part of the orange is very “orangey”,
and they’re all kind of mixed together. You could treat that as two
different color groups. Because it’s all swirled together,
I just look at it like it’s all part of the orange. But what I’ll do, is I’ll mix a green version
and a red version. Or an orange version.
So I have my orange colors, and then I have my green colors. I just mix them like two different color groups. If you have something
like this white little vase sitting here, and one side is all red because
there’s some red flower on one side, and the other side is all green, because there’s
a big green leaf on the other side, and then you have the neutrals down the middle, you could just mix the neutral down the middle. And then when you paint it, you could
just add red to get the red shades, or add green to get the green shades. Just tint what you’ve got. In other words,
just mix the neutrals down the middle and then just shift it green and shift it red. That’s the easiest way to do it. If you wanted to really be super-accurate then what you could do is just go ahead
and treat it like three different color groups. It’s up to you. One thing you shouldn’t do,
is if you’ve got a color group, and you’re mixing them, like this silver cup here, and if there’s a little red glow
over in the corner up in the top, and it’s just one little part, don’t start chasing all these different
color shifts that you see. Sometimes you’ll see all kinds of colors. If you’re painting something that’s reflective, and it’s reflecting all kinds of colors
from all over the place, don’t start chasing all those colors.
You can deal with those colors when you paint. What you really want to do is just
mix your basic color steps and have a real basic palette
that you can use to paint with. And then when you start to paint,
you do more color mixing. You can go watch the tutorial about
how to paint to see more about that. My point is don’t get bogged down chasing
all these little individual colors all over the place. Just identify your color groups, and just mix from the darkest to the lightest
in each one, and you’re done. That’s about it for mixing colors.