Dear Community,

I would like to share my experience and findings of investigating my pallet via color mixing exercise that was (honestly saying) two years delayed. 

When I had online course for landscape almost two years ago, instructor told us to do such kind of exercise (T.Zubova), but I did not do it then as I did not want to waste my precious paint. 

Well, two years later after the class when I felt stuck with color I finally decided that I need to do this exercise and use it as catalogue of colors what My paints can do. 

First discovery (even I had some expectations) blew my mind on what greens I can produce. Greens in landscape are usually the biggest challenge ever, now I know why exactly I cannot buy all the greens that I can meet in nature in the tube. 

Second discovery was that  destroyed my status-quo on color understanding was mixes of yellows and reds and what beauty was hiding from me inside my paint tubes. Now I am seriously thinking to try a floral painting again. 

Let me please share what I did as I used two different approaches in the exercise. 

 1. Greens and Ultramarine. 

I wanted to observe color transition between mixes when in the range.  So I used a pallet knife to see color change as I mixed between left and right. Since these research colors were dark out of tube I also made a sample of equal quantities Color 1 x Color 2 x Titanium White. (proportion 1:1:1)  This is where my discovery was hiding as it gave me full set of realistic greens for all possible applications. 

2. Warm colors.

For warm colors I decided to omit the range mixing and just did Color 1 x Color 2.  Then I thought let me add equal proportion of white to see what I get. The gentle pinks and oranges that I discovered with adding TW are just gorgeous. 

The pure color which was used for mixes learning diagonal row is just a color of interest  with TW to see how it behaves with addition of the white to it. 

Another discovery was about strength of the pigments in mixes and I realized that yellow ochre is a weak pigment and to use it as yellow in landscapes I will need more of it and also it gives a wonderful sandy color.  

Update from 2022: I got Viridian Green and Chrome Oxide colors and did the same exercise with them. Overall mixes showed me quite the same colors that I could achieve with my standard phtalo green as basis. Only couple of color combinations with the new greens showed difference. So I do not see the point  for myself to use these new colors as  mixing basis and rather to keep them for specialized use due to the price tag.

Practical application: this is the catalogue that I will look at when I need to color match something with reality if I paint something from nature still life or plein-air. 

Although color mixes I usually do have more than mix of two colors this is a wonderful starting point to understand color mixing better. 


I thoroughly enjoyed  the process and I encourage everyone to try and share your discoveries with Community.