Monday, June 2, 2014

Color Mixing - Intensity

June 1, 2014

Color Mixing - I have learned that to make color look bright there is a need for mixing low intensity colors, too.  Colors (with high intensity or chroma) look brighter against neutrals and low intensity colors. 

I have been  watching videos from  the Artist Network TV  and Ian Roberts has a good one on color.  There was an exercise he recommends called the "color chip exercise". 

Attributes of every color include HUE, VALUE and INTENSITY.  The following exercise emphasizes learning to mix low intensity colors.  I usually went for the hue first, then added the complement and took it from there. 

1) Get paint chips from hardware store with low intensity.  I chose sort of a yellow, purple, green, and blue in different values.

This just show different values.

Exercise - glue chip to grid, match  as closely as possible in value and intensity with your own mix in 2nd grid,  the do the same thing in the 3rd grid with the color's complement. 

This black and white shows the similarity in value. 

I hope you can watch the Ian Roberts video.  I have written about Ian Roberts in older blogs especially his book on composition.  He explains so well the reasons there are for being able to adjust the intensity of colors especially in landscape painting. 

My next blog is about color brightness using Dreama Tolle Perry's technique of transparent and opaque colors.  I finally remembered to take step by step photos for one my recent paintings called "Corner of Fauqier and Charles. 


  1. This is a great exercise! It would be fun to grab different paint chips all within the same color, then trying to mix them all with paint. I find a quick way to start mixing toned down/neutral versions of colors is to mix paints with opposing color a blue with a red bias and a yellow with a green bias will make a muted down version of green as the compliment is already involved. And of course picking a yellow with a red bias will make a very muted green, or some kind of mud depending on the colours!

    Thanks for posting this, it was a great read!
    -Ashley at

    1. Thank you, I like your idea about using the bias of the color.

  2. This is a great idea! It would be fun to get paint chips of different intensities of the same color and try to match them all. I find that an easy way to start mixing toned down/neutral colors is to use a color of the opposing color bias. So a blue with a purple bias mixed with a yellow with a green bias would make a muted green as the compliment is already in there a little bit. (Using a yellow with an orange bias might start to get a bit too muddy, but it depends on the colors!)

    Thanks for the great post!

    -Ashley at