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Can we LEARN to mix ANY COLOUR we want?

Updated: Mar 15

Of course we can! A little colour theory (nothing to heavy!) and. few tricks can go a long way.

Whatever your current experience level, we can take all of the guess work out of colour mixing...and make it fun to PLAY with COLOUR!


Yes, there is lots of colour theory for those who wish to dive deep, but actually we can pull out of that a fairly simple understanding of colour, and certainly one that is practically useful to us as artists, and actually particularly useful for watercolours…

I think there are two important parts to understanding colour, we will cover part 1 in this email (stay tuned for part 2 next week)

For this simple approach to colours and mixing we will be using the colour wheel shown here.

There are many colour wheels.

Some are mathematically perfect but fairly useless to us as painters.

Remember: Colour Wheels are just a way to conceptualise colour. A way to think about it and make sense of it in a way that is useful to us.

The wheel above is a simple 3 primary colour wheel, with secondaries and tertiaries. The complimentary colours are directly opposite each other. I will get more into this in the next email, but in short as we go into the middle of this colour wheel the colours subdue, or “grey down”.


So the first useful point to understand is that colours can be cool or warm.

We can split the colour wheel and say there is a cool and warm side, in itself not that useful other than to help us understand that Reds, Oranges and Yellows are warmer than Blues, Purples and Greens.

We don’t need to obsess over colour temperature particularly, remembering that colour temperature is always relative. Rather than absolute.

i.e. take purple and put it next to red, purple is the cool colour. Replace red with blue, now purple is the warm colour...and so on.

Where this idea of cool and warm becomes particularly useful is understanding which combinations of colours mix other colours (well obviously! But stick with me…)

We know red and blue makes purple.

Whilst this is correct, we can’t just mix any old red and purple and expect to create a vibrant bright purple. Only certain reds and blues will give us this.