How Can You Get the Right Color When Mixing Oil Paints? A Guide


Have you been inspired by the oil-based works of painters of the past?

Famous masterpieces have been created with oil paint. Da Vinci’s oil painting portrait “Mona Lisa” and Van Gogh’s oil painting landscape “The Starry Night” are considered some of the greatest works in history.

Many artists idolize these geniuses, and they want to create oil paint masterworks of their own.

But oil paint comes with its challenges. One of the frustrations some artists face is mixing oil paints to get the color they visualize for their paintings.

Are you a painter wanting to make oil-based artwork, but you’re having difficulty mixing colors to match your vision?

That’s why we’re here to help. Here is your guide to mixing oil paints for the right color.

Mixing Oil Paints

Oil painting can be a challenge to mix. While it’s easy to blend colors with oil paint, it is easy to go overboard and create muddied shapes. Thankfully there are techniques you can use to get around this issue.

Dark To Light Ratio

One technique is to keep track of how much dark colors you are mixing in with light colors. You should start with a generous amount of a lighter color and then slowly add in darker colors.

Dark colors have greater tinting potential than lighter colors due to more pigment. So if you overdo it, you’ve basically ruined it and will have to start over. Remember, once that paint is mixed in, it cannot come back out.

Darkening A Paint’s Color

Let’s say you want to take a certain color and make it darker. An automatic but incorrect reaction is to add a little black to the paint, and in reality, that is more likely to muddy up and deaden your color rather than darken it.

Instead, you mix the color with its complementary color on the wheel. Red is complementary to green; violet is complementary to yellow, and so forth. You’re much more likely to get the color you want with this method than you are by using black paint.

Other Important Tips

Don’t mix more than three colors. Again, this can cause you to go overboard and end up with a muddied dark color. Two to three is the way to go.

Change brushes as you paint. This should be pretty obvious as using a brush with paint residue on it is equivalent to mixing in more colors, which could ruin the shade you worked do hard to mix.

Also, while it may be easy to mix with a brush, it’s better to use a pallet knife instead since it is easier to clean than a brush.

Finally, keep all your tools clean to prevent color contamination. Have an eco-friendly solvent and a rag ready to clean your brushes and pallet knife or mixing tool.

More Painting Tips

If mixing oil paints has ever been a source of frustration for you, this information should make things much easier. Follow them, experiment with mixing, and you’ll have a much easier time getting the color you desire.

Painter Info has many more articles to help you with your painting. Learn about everything from differences between types of paints, the best brushes you can use, and the easiest types of paint to use. Visit us and read more. 

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