Part 1, Project 2 Exercise 3 – Opaque colour mixing

We are asked to take some of our previous washes (single colour, as well as two colour) and attempt to recreate them using the addition of white.

There are millions of colour combinations that could be used for this exercise and again, photos don’t really show the true colour of the finished dried test paper. I decided to just use red (acrylics and water soluble oils), as well as one violet and one orange (ws oils).

First I tried acrylic – cadmium red, adding white. – going down the paper from dark to light. This tended to end up being a bit pink at the top because I went back up the paper to blend it – I did it again – the last photo below – and it worked out better, as i used two brushes.

Acrylic Cadmium red adding white down the paper

Then, starting at the bottom with white and moving up to the top, trying to blend the colours in the middle

Acrylic white at bottom, red at top – blending in middle

It still resulted in a pink at the top and didn’t blend very well.

For the third test sheet, I used water-mixable oil – red at the top and white at the bottom and again, trying to blend them together in the middle. I found that I was able to keep the integrity of the red better than when I used the acrylics.

WS Oil Red at top, white at bottom, blended in middle

Fourth, I added white to violet going down the paper. I had created this violet out of pyrrole red and blue, streaks of the red came through in the wash and because of that, this was not a smooth transition from the violet to the palest colour.

WS Oil Violet at top, adding white going down the paper


For orange, I started at the top and added white as I went down the paper.   I compared that with the initial wash using just water to thin out the paint.

WS Oil Orange adding white going down the paper
WS Oil Orange, adding white going down the paper (left) and using water to dilute down the paper (right)

My final test was with red acrylic, adding white but resisting the urge to go back up into the red, so this kept the integrity of the red.

Acrylic cadmium red, adding white going down the paper

There is a definite difference in the way paints blend, depending on colour and type of paint. I am finding that the water soluble oils, for instance, need a lot of blending with water before they become loose enough to lay as a gradated wash down the paper. Adding white to these paints, can result in definite bands of dark against light, so i need to watch that when trying to get a gradated effect with these paints for future work.

I found it was much easier to work with the acrylics, adding white to them and blending out the main colour to its palest hue, using both water and white. Although, I had to be careful not to go back up into the darkest colour, else this would become diluted or cloudy.

Adding white to colours tends to make them ‘flat’, and I felt that the previous transparent washes were more vibrant. I think it would be interesting to lay down an opaque glaze of a chosen colour and then put a transparent wash of the same colour on top – I think that would create a lot of depth. I will try that in my sketchbook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close