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Updated: Mar 15

If you haven't seen the previous few blog posts I definitely recommend you do so. This one will make more sense.

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!


I spoke in the last email of the importance of knowing your pigments/colours and where they sit on the colour wheel, if they are warm or cool, and how this dramatically affects your colour mixing.

The two principles I want to talk about here are:

1) How to lighten & darken colours

2) The easiest way I have found to think about colour

Then Colour Mixing in Part 3 (the next post) we will look at how to bring all of this together to mix ANY colour you want, with no guess work and frustration (after a little practice of course;)

The KEY principles of COLOUR MIXING I am sharing in this email, we are going to go really deep into as part of the Watercolour Masterclass Series

Having taught it in person to many students I know that it really does create some serious lightbulb moments!

This Series will only be running once a year and starts in early May.

So there’s not long left to book your spot!



Ok, so initially this may seem like the most basic of topics, but in watercolour we generally do not use white to lighten our colours as it makes them go cloudy and we loose the wonderfully luminosity of watercolour (white has it's place of course and we will cover this in the Masterclass Series) We do of course have black, and there is nothing wrong with using black! It is a versatile and very useful colour...but... just using black to darken colours can easily result in lots of flat dull colours. Plus, depending on the black used, it will have a cool or warm bias and therefore will affect all of our mixes in a certain direction, and may create and unwanted overall colour scheme. SO We must be very careful with it. LIGHTENING COLOURS

Of course we are using water to lighten colours - number 1 But in doing so, actually much like using white, we are also de-saturating the colour (making it less intense) as well as often altering the colour as it lightens. So the biggest point to consider is HOW is the colour lightening? examples: Most blues are dark in tone. Adding water is one way to lighten them...but we must also consider what is happening to the Blue as it lightens. Is it lightening in a neutral way? Or is it shifting over towards being a bit more greeney as it lightens? Or over towards being a little more purple? The same with red; does it lighten to be a more soft pinky colour (cooler) Or does it retain a fieriness (warm) by shifting towards orange? The same with yellows too. This is NOT complicated at all. In fact it is very simple, but many people never ask these simple questions and as a result can get very frustrated with colour mixing.


Exactly the same questions should be asked when darkening colours.