Jansen Art Studio- Sidney Fine Art Center

Historical and Contemporary Art

Brush Mixing

Welcome to our Brush Mixing Colors with the 6 Color Basic Set

With our Paint It Simply lessons and many of the other lessons such as the Art of Painting we present, you may use the Palette Mixes as shown in the other article page, or brush mix your colors once you understand a little more about working your colors around the color wheel.  This is your choice in our lessons we show both.


Expanding the 6 colors Basic Set through brush mixing

Let's start our journey!


Temperature of the 6 Basic Colors

Temperature is one of the most important principles in our Paint It Simply program, but also the hardest concept to “see” and understand. To make this concept easier to understand, we selected very limited colors, each one is chosen with temperature in mind. You can easily paint temperature, without “seeing” it if you follow these principles. Let's take a look at the temperature of the 6 color set.

Red Violet is the coolest color in this palette. Many think that blacks are the coolest. This is not true. Some blacks are even warm. Our Carbon Black is considered a neutral leaning cool. White is Neutral. Many also think that Phthalo Blue is cool. This is not true. Ultramarine Blue and Phthalo Blue are warm colors. There is not a manufacturer today of a cool Ultramarine Blue. Blues however will look cool when you use them in association with warmer colors. For example, look above. The Phthalo Blue is slightly warm of neutral, however, according to the scale, it is cooler than the Naphthol Red Light. So, if both are used in a painting, the Phthalo Blue will look cool and the Naphthol Red Light will look warm. The human eye constantly balances colors, so you will see the blue as cool, but in reality, it is not, but in this painting example, it will appear that way. Trust the scale above, and you can paint temperature in any Paint It Simply lesson.


Brush Mixing OrangeHansa can also be used as a base for a wide variety of oranges. Tiny touches of Naphthol Red Light make warm oranges while touches of Red Violet make cooler oranges that are slightly toned because Red Violet leans a little blue.


Brush Mixing Browns and Siennas

 Base Brown is 2 parts Naphthol Red Light and 1 part Carbon Black. I vary this color in many brush mixes with additions of Hansa Yellow which lightens and makes more sienna colors.  Burnt Sienna is a toned orange.  To make it increase your brown to 3 parts Naphthol Red Light to 1 part Black, then start adding Hansa Yellow with your brush to get the desired colors.   Adding Red Violet to these colors will cool them.



 Brush Mixing Blues and Blue Violets

Phthalo Blue on the palette is a dark blue which leans to the green side. If you add a tiny touch of Red Violet, then lighten with white, you will make a wide variety of blues and blue violets.  If you want to tone this color, you can add a touch of brown, black, or even a brush mixed orange.



 Brush Mixing Red

Naphthol Red Light is a warm red orange. Red Violet is a cool Red Violet. Mix together to make a wide range of reds and lighten with white to make soft pinks. A beautiful Christmas red can be made by mixing Naphthol Red Light and Red Violet 2 to 1.  



Brush Mixing Various Greens

Hansa Yellow will make a wide variety of greens. On the left you can see Hansa mixed with Phthalo Blue on the right tiny touch of Carbon Black. The addition of Black to Hansa Yellow makes the older historical color Olive Green.  Hansa changes very quickly so you need just the tiniest amount of black or blue to change it.  Combine both Black and Blue for more greens!



 Brush Mixing Various Yellows from Hansa Yellow

Hansa is a bright yellow. I like to use it softer. Add some browns (shown below) and touches of Red Violet and red add more variety. White lightens and opaques the yellow.  Adding a touch of brown and white, you can make Yellow Oxide or Raw Sienna.



There is SO MUCH MORE!  Time to study Color Theory

Here the top is mixed with Naphthol Red Light and a tiny touch of Carbon Black. What happens to the Yellow? The red will warm, but the black will cool. If you increase the black the color becomes greener and cooler. If you increase the red, the color becomes more orange and warmer! What to do?  The second mix shows Red Violet and Carbon Black. Here you will always make the color cooler since both colors are cool. So both colors cool slightly moving from left to right. There are many ways to cool and tone color. There are thousands of ways to tone and cool or just tone.  This is why color theory is so important to artists.  You need the knowledge and information to drive your colors correctly.



For hundreds of video lessons and painting lessons on color and so much more, continue your studies with our S201 Color Theory course.  Let's start our color journey!

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