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How to mix color, Value, Harmony, paint with a limited palette primary colors

Published on February 22, 2015 under YouTube Lectures
How to mix color, Value, Harmony, paint with a limited palette primary colors

This video is about How to mix color, Value, Harmony, paint with a limited palette by National Park Painter Stefan Baumann Host of the PBS painting show The Grand View. In theory, everything can be painted with the three primary colors of Red, Blue and Yellow. This sounds crazy but it is true. Look into your computer printer and you will find three colors of ink that are used together to create the amazing photos that your printer can print. To learn color theory, it’s important to begin with three primary colors, Alizarin Crimson, Thalo Blue and Cadmium Yellow Light. (Because Thalo Blue is so saturated and messy, I recommend that you substitute Cobalt Blue.) Then, with time and patience, you can mix these three colors together and create a beautiful black. The initial goal of a Plein Air painter is to use only these three colors, black, and Titanium white and complete a painting from start to finish. After doing this a couple of times, you will begin making your own choices about what to add to your palette. For example, you may need a bright red for a truck in your painting. After you have exhausted all attempts at mixing Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Yellow to make this red and have come to the conclusion that this combination will not make the red you want, then, and only then, you can search through the box of colors you have been collecting and choose a red that will punch up the color. If you believe that red trucks are going to be a part of what you paint frequently, then include this color as part of your own palette. If not, toss it back into the box. You will start seeing that only few colors will need to be added to create the subjects you select and style that you enjoy painting. You may eventually substitute the first three primary colors in your quest to find the perfect three colors for your paintings; so experiment and find out what works for you. Save some backup colors to keep in the trunk of your car but go on site with as little as you can carry in one trip.

Remember that White is not a color and is only used to create values of a color. The quality of white paint does matter. I recommended that you use a good to best quality of white like Old Holland Titanium White that contains both Titanium and Zinc. The Zinc makes it cooler and balances the warmness of Titanium white making it a true white. Stay away from Permalba White because it contains less pigment and produces a muddy color quickly. If you want your white to have a soft appearance, mix some linseed oil into the paint on the palette.

As for the cost of the paint you choose, except for the white, it does not make any difference if you use a cheap name brand paint that you find at Michael’s or the high-end paint like Vasari or Old Holland. They all produce the same effects when mixed. So, save your money to spend on something that really makes a difference, like buying oil primed linen canvases to paint on.


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