mix paint colors

from your artist palette

Learn how to mix paint colors. Color makes a painting sing. The color wheel is the key to understanding and using all paint colors.

With a little knowledge, color mixing will soon become second nature to you. Your painting will be fun!

how to mix paint colors

What makes this a striking painting?

It is the basic techniques of learning to paint.

The composition, focal point, values and color make this painting sing.

This painting uses complimentary colors.

Also, the contrast of warm colors against cool colors.

Learn the basics of mixing color with Carol MayLearn the basics of mixing color

the foundation of color mixing

There are three basic colors that all other colors are based on.

They are the pure, beautiful colors of blue, yellow and red.

These primary colors are equally spaced on the color wheel.

All the other colors on the wheel can be mixed from these three primary colors. The primary colors cannot be mixed.

We don't have to spend a lot of money at the paint store.

With knowledge we can mix paint colors from our palette.

Some top-notch professional artists use a limited palette based on only the primary colors and white.

Learn how to mix paint colors with artist Carol MayAll colors come from
three primary colors.

how to mix secondary colors

Mix two primary colors together to get the secondary colors of  orange, green and violet.


Mix black with any color to get shades of the original color.

Mixing a tube black with a color dulls the original color. There are two other ways to make a shade.

  • Add a bit of the darker color next to it on the color wheel.
  • A second way to get a darker shade it to add a bit of its complimentary color.
Mix two primary colors together to get a secondary color.Mix two primary colors
to get a secondary.


When we mix paint colors with white we get tints of the original color.

  • Adding white to a color gives it a chalky appearance.
  • An artistic way to lighten and brighten a color is to add the lighter color next to it from the color wheel.

For example to lighten orange, add yellow to it. The color will remain bright and lively without a chalky appearance.

mixing warm colors

Any color with yellow in it is considered a warm color.

Warm colors are mixed with primary yellow or the secondary orange.

Warm colors are known to "advance" toward us in the painting.

They normally are used in the foreground and middle ground.

They are also used to make areas of an object look like it is closer to us.

The center of the mango has warmer colors than the edges.

Warm colors contain yellow, how to mix warm colors.Warm colors contain yellow.

mixing cool colors

Colors containing the primary blue are considered cool colors.

Cool colors recede in the painting. They look farther away.

We mix paint colors for the distance in landscape paintings with a bit of blue.

Make the edge of objects turn away from us with cool colors.

We also use cooler colors to set one object behind another object.

How to mix cool colors containing blue.Cool colors contain blue.

mixing dark colors

Black is completely devoid of color and life. Tube black is a dead, dull color.

I prefer to mix my black and dark colors with colors I am currently using on any individual painting.

A combination of the three primary colors make black.

We know secondary colors are a combination of two primaries.

Mix a secondary color with its complimentary color to get a brown or black.

This combines all three of the primaries to make the black.

How to mix dark paint colors from your artist palette.Look across the color wheel to find the compliment of any secondary color.

my favorites

Viridian Green and Alizarin Crimson easily make a black.

We may slant the black toward green or red by adding additional Viridian or Alizarin.

Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue make brown. I often use this combination of brown in tree trunks.

Add more Ultramarine to make a warm black. Or add more Sienna for a warmer brown.

How to mix dark colors from your palette.Viridian and Alizarin make black.
Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine
make brown.

how to mix greens

Blue and yellow mixed together make green.

Mix colors with a palette knife for consistent color and it saves paint.

Thalo Blue is a very strong color. Use just a bit of it with your primary yellow for a beautiful green.

Add more yellow for a brighter spring green.

Add more blue to get a blue-green.

Add red, the compliment of green for a darker, subdued green.

How to mix green colors by artist Carol MayMixing green colors

Practice mixing your colors and enjoy painting!

  1. Home
  2. Learn Painting
  3. Mix Paint Colors

Subscribe to the What's New Page and you will be notified when I publish new pages. (No email is required.)