How to mix the color observed and some important rules

How to mix and match a color observed

When we attempt to mix a color, sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the amount of decisions we could take in order to match a color. It is easier to attempt this task by asking the right questions and by answering them. This is an easily flow chart that might help you:

  1. Which hue It belongs? (red, yellow, blue, …)
  2. How light or dark It is? (on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 being pure black and 10 pure white, according to the Munsell system)
  3. How strong It is? (is It close to gray, or It is pure?)

After these questions, you have to choose the color from your palette that is closer to the color that you are observing, and adjust It by lighten or darken It, by reducing It’s chroma(how strong It is), and by shifting the hue, that basically means controlling the temperature.

Few things on temperature

The temperature of a color refers to what side of the wheel our color is closer. We say that a color is cold, when It is closer to blue, and warmer when It is closer to red. A thing must be said. There’s no warm and cool if we have just one single color isolated. Everything is always in relation to something else. So we can’t say, having just one color isolated, that It is warm or cool, because we could mix a cooler or a warmer version of It, if we want to. To understand to which color It is closer, and so understanding It’s temperature, we have to keep in mind the color wheel. Let’s take green for example. We could mix endless kinds of greens, warmer or cooler, by adding blue or yellow in some degrees. Since yellow is a warm color, by adding It to the green, we are carrying It nearer to red, thus warming It. The same thing for the blue. If we add blue, we are carrying It to the blue side, thus cooling It. Temperature is extremely important in creating the illusion of realism. It is something that It’s easily overlooked since we tend to consider important only getting values right, but It is definitely where the great vitality of a painting reside. It is just how nature works, Every kind of light will produce a different play of warm and cool, for istance, a warm light, will produce cool shadows, a cool light, warm shadows, etc…

Some “rules” and advices to keep in mind

  1. The furthest the colors we are mixing are on the color wheel, the grayier the resulting color will be. The closer they are on the color wheel in relation to each other, the brighter the color mixed will be. ( for brightness here I mean more saturation).
  2. Color is affected by surrounding colors that can affect our judging when we attempt to mix It. It is called simultaneous contrast.
  3. In nature, gray is obtained by mixing the three primary colors together.
  4. It can help creating a palette where we have the warm and cool version of each primary color.
  5. Warm light=cool halftones and cooler shadows, Cool light= warm halftones and warmer shadows.
  6. Every plane that Is struck by light beams will be a light source itself affecting surrounding colors and shadow colors in some degree.
  7. Two colors are considered harmonious if they contain a little bit of each other.
  8. Atmosphere affect colors of distant objects. It is called aereal perspective.

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