What About Mixing Colours?

Mixing different tones of brown

Mixing different tones of brown

We have had a few encounters when our students come for class and share with us on a almost high pitched tone that they saw shops selling other colours like orange, purple or grey and so on. When we reply that we know that there are shops that sells the colours that they mentioned, they would give us a “then-why-do-get-to-use-only-a-few-colours” or “why-do-I-still-need-to-mix-that-colour” type of look.

Knowing primary colours and secondary colours is part of the basics of learning art. This can help to set the foundation for students to learn to mix colours and to create new colours to work with. Our students’ faces always light up when they first get the chance to learn to mix colours. Then comes their sense of achievement when they are able to tell us the colours to mix together in order to achieve the colour that can’t be found in the colours available to them. After they are familiar with the mixing of colours, what comes next?

Today, we are going to share with you 3 learning points from not only learning to mix paints but also knowing to mix paints.

[ Memorization ]

Our students are used to not having a lot of colours to work with because we start them off with a limited palette of colours, mainly consisting of primary colours. Whenever our students need to paint a colour that is not included in their limited palette of colours, it is the time when they start to get their first try in mixing basic combination of primary colours to attain secondary colours (e.g. blue + yellow = green). This helps to train students to memorise the different colour combinations and be able to work around limited colour choices in future. 

[ Mix the same colour tone more than once ]

It sure did not take long to realise that everyone shares the same feeling when it comes to having to mix the paint again because we have run out of paint. We would be using all means to scoop up the remaining paint on the palette to the tiniest bit with our brushes in hope that we do not have to try to mix the same colours again. Mixing of paints is a very good practice during class time to learn to mix the right amount of paint that you need so that you don’t end up with a lot of leftover paints or end up having to mix or take more paints.

It is also important to remember the ratio of colours that you used to mix together so that you will be able to achieve the same colour and not end up with different colours on the same area on your artwork. This is a very good practice for students to be able to replicate colours that they see. 

[ Knowing what colours to mix together ]

Mixing colours relatively easy after our students are able to memorise the different combinations. Knowing the colours to mix together in order to achieve the colour that you are looking for isn’t. After knowing the basics of mixing primary colours to get secondary colours, there are also tertiary colours, which is created with an even mix of both primary colour and secondary colour [e.g. red + orange = red-orange (vermillion)]. After which, it is up to our students to experiment and gain experience mixing different colour tones.

This greatly reduces students’ reliance to purchase a lot of colours to work with. Rather, it gives our students more freedom in the colours applied on their artwork as they will be able to come up with new colours to complement the effect that they are looking for. For younger students, it allows them to be able to mix colours that do not end up looking too dirty (e.g. green + brown) for using brighter colours on their artworks can help to create a more vibrant looking work that is visually appealing to them themselves.

The next time before you get overwhelmed by the range of colours that you should be opting for, you can consider choosing the range of colours that consist more primary or secondary colours to start off with. Have fun mixing colours! 

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