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a sample of two opaques mixed


How to Mix Two Watercolors

  • Yellow with red to make various shades of orange
  • Yellow with blue to make various shades of green
  • Red with blue to make various shades of violet
  • Mixing two transparent colors; non-staining and staining
  • Mixing with opaque's
  • Adding just a tad of color

Although you can start a painting with a pre-chosen watercolor from your palette, there will be times when you will want a variation of that color. You can do this by mixing it with another color or colors.

By mixing one watercolor with another watercolor, will allow you to enhance its appearance, gray-down or neutralize the color, warm up or cool down the color's temperature, and sometimes even ruin the color, because not all watercolors mix well with one another.


Yellow and Red Make Orange
  Watercolors used for this example are:        New Gamboge, a warm yellow.          Permanent Rose,  a cool red.

 
 
Mixing yellow with red will make the color orange. The amount added of each color will determine the final color.
 
Example  1.     

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        Orange


When you mix equal valued amounts of yellow and red, as shown in Example 1., you will achieve an orange true to those two watercolors being used.
 
Example  2.                Example  3.     

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Yellow  Orange       Red Orange


When you change the proportion size of the yellow and red, as shown in Examples 2. and Example 3., you will get variations of that orange.

Yellow and Blue Make Green
  Watercolors used for this example are:        New Gamboge, a warm yellow.          French Ultramarine Blue,  a warm blue.

 
 
The same rule applies when mixing yellow and blue.
 
Example  4.     

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        Green


When you mix equal valued amounts of yellow and blue, as shown in Example 4., you will achieve a green true to those two watercolors being used.
 
Example  5.          Example  6.     

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Yellow Green       Blue Green


When you change the proportion size of the yellow and blue, as shown in Examples 5. and Example 6., you will get variations of that green.

Red and Blue Make Violet
  Watercolors used for this example are:         Permanent Rose,  a cool red.          French Ultramarine Blue,  a warm blue.

 
 
Again, the same rule applies when mixing red and blue.
 
Example  7.     

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        Violet


When you mix equal valued amounts of red and blue, as shown in Example 7., you will achieve a violet true to those two watercolors being used.
 
Example  8.          Example  9.     

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Red Violet             Blue Violet


When you change the proportion size of the red and blue, as shown in Examples 8. and Example 9., you will get variations of that violet.

Mixing Two Transparent Colors
 
Mixing a non-staining color with another non-staining color.
 
 
  Example  10.                Example  11.     

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Rose Madder Genuine       Aureolin
Cobalt Blue                      Cobalt Blue
When mixing a non-staining color with another non-staining color they are equal in the respect of allowing each other to intermingle with one another on the surface of the paper.


Mixing a staining color with a non-staining color.
 
  Example  12.                Example  13.     

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Permanent Alizarin Crimson       Winsor Yellow
Cobalt Blue                               Cobalt Blue
When mixing a staining color with a non-staining color, the staining color will not only absorb immediately into the surface of the paper, it will also overpower and stain the non-staining color.

Mixing with Opaque's
 
Mixing Cerulean Blue, an opaque color, with staining and non-staining primaries.
 
 
 
Example  14.
a non-staining color.
Example  15.
a staining color.
Example  16.
another opaque.
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Rose Madder Genuine
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Cadmium Yellow
Mingles well
with the blue
Overpowers
the blue
Mixes well
with the blue

Adding Just a "tad" of Color
 
Adding just a tad of another color is a quick and easy way to tone down, enhance, or slightly alter your colors appearance or temperature.
 
Example 17.

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When you are mixing colors, this works extremely well when wanting to vary a color, as within the petals of a flower. Adding a tad of the blue to the pink, as shown in Example 17., you can create shadow petals, just as adding a tad of yellow to the pink can create sun kissed petals.
 



 
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