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Color Theory and Mixing

Don't be intimidated by color theory. An understanding of the basics and how the color wheel works is one of the fundamentals of painting.
  1. Paint Colors (8)
  2. Color Mixing Tips
  3. Color Theory Problem Solver (14)
  4. Palettes of the Old Masters
  5. Recommended Books on Color

Color Theory Quiz
Test how much you know about the basic principles of color mixing with this color quiz.

What You Need to Know About Color Theory for Painting
Master the essentials of color theory quickly and easily!

How to Paint a Color Theory Triangle
This explanation of how to paint up a color theory triangle will guide you on your first steps on the enjoyable path that is color mixing.

7 Ways to Mix Paint Colors
There's more than one way to mix paint colors, and varying how you do it adds interest to your final painting.

My Favorite Color Mixing Tips
Here are a few tips to help you get the best results when mixing colors that I wish I'd known when I started painting!

Blending Paint Colors
Learn how to successfully mix two colors where they meet, in this step-by-step tutorial on blending paint.

Color Mixing Charts
Share in the joys of color mixing and exploring color theory in this photo gallery of color mixing charts.

The Three Sides to a Paint Color's Personality: Hue, Value, and Chroma
What hue, value, and chroma mean in a paint color, and why it's important to consider all three when mixing colors for painting.

What You Need to Know About Tones or Values for Painting (and Why)
What is a tone in a painting, how it tone different from color, and why is it important for artists? Find out in this article on painting tones or values.

What Colors are Shadows?
Learn about how the Impressionists changed the colors we use to paint shadows, rejecting plain black for shadows.

Elements of Composition: Contrast

Opaque or Transparent?
Discover the easy way to test which pigments or colors are transparent, barely showing on top of another color and which are opaque, hiding what's beneath.

Color Theory Lesson: Secondary Colors
Secondary colors (oranges, green, and purples) are created by mixing two of the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) together. Find out how to mix your own secondary colors and why you should know how to do this rather than simply buying them.

Color Theory Lesson: Tertiary Colors
Tertiary colors are neutral colors such as browns and greys. Learn how to mix these and how to stop them becoming muddy.

Color Theory Lesson: Complementary Colors
Complementary colors make each other appear brighter and also appear in the shadows. Find out which colors complement each other and an easy way to remember this.

Color Theory Lesson: Using Black and White
Should you add white to lighten a color and black to darken it?

Do a Simple Lightfastness Test for a Paint Color
If you're doubtful as to how lightfast a color is, the easy way to test is to do a basic lightfastness test yourself. It doesn't require specialist equipment, merely a little patience to wait for the results.

How to Create a Color Run for Mixing Paint Colors
How to create a color run for testing how two paint colors mix.

Tonality in a Painting: Hard to See But So Essential
A look at what tonality is and why it’s so important in a painting.

Use Color Symbolism from Ancient Egypt
In Ancient Egypt color was considered an integral part of a person's nature, and items with similar colour were believed to have similar properties. By using modern-day equivalents you could use the meanings of colors to add an intriguing level of symbolism to a painting.

Color Technology in Ancient Egypt
Do you use lamp black? Did you know that it was developed by the Ancient Egyptians way back when...? This article looks at what other colors they developed, and the technology used.

Online Color Mixing Palette for Painters
This online color mixing tool lets you experiment with mixing primary colors and secondary colors without worrying that you're wasting paint.

How to Mix Greens
There are more ways to create greens than mixing blue and yellow!

Chromatic Brown: What It Is and How to Mix It
An easy-to-understand explanation of what chromatic brown is, how to mix it, and why you'd use it instead of tube brown.

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