Are you ready to dip your paintbrush into the magical world of colour? In this beginner's guide, we're embarking on a whirlwind journey through colour theory. So, whether you're a budding artist or just curious, let's unravel the mysteries of mixing, blending, and the captivating dance of hues.

The Colour Wheel - Your Palette's North Star

Let's meet the star of our show: the colour wheel. It's a circle displaying the spectrum of colours that are, believe it or not, interconnected like BFFs.

The color wheel is divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary colours. Primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) are the essential building blocks, while secondary colours (green, orange, and purple) are created by mixing primary colours. Tertiary colours, on the other hand, are the offspring of primary and secondary colours mingling in perfect harmony.

The Colour Wheel

Mixing Magic - Where Colours Collide

With the colour wheel as our guide, it's time to grab your palette, squeeze out your primary colours, and embark on a mixing adventure.

Remember the "Three Musketeers" of colours: red, blue, and yellow? They're like the key to unlocking a treasure chest of endless hues. Mixing primary colours together yield secondary colours, like:

  • red + blue = purple
  • blue + yellow = green
  • yellow + red = orange

It's like magic potions in the art world! But not all paint colours are created equally, just think of the variety of red paint you can buy at the store - cool red, warm red, pink-red, yellow-red. This is where things start to get tricky!

Swatches of various shades of red 

Complementary Colours - Sparks of Contrast

Complementary colours are pairs that, when placed side by side, create a visual contrast. Remember the colour wheel? Complementary colours sit opposite each other—red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.

Placed side by side, they create visual fireworks. Harness their power to bring drama and dynamism to your canvas. But when mixed together, interesting and unexpected results can arise.

The Elegance of Dulling

The trick to dulling the brightness of a colour lies in mixing a dash of its complementary colour. For example, if you want to make purple look less vibrant, and more natural, add a touch of yellow. And if you want it so dull that it turns brown, mix equal parts yellow and purple! (blue + red + yellow = a lovely rich brown)

This is why when mixing red and blue paint it sometimes produces brown. If the red paint you are using is a warm red that contains any yellow in it (think of fire engine red!) the result will be a shade of brown. Because mixing pure red and pure blue makes purple, then adding yellow will tone it down. Cool aye?

Tints, Shades, and Mood Crafting

Tints are created by adding white to a colour, resulting in a lighter and softer version. Shades, on the other hand, are concocted by mixing black into a colour, yielding a darker and moodier variant.

Playing with tints and shades adds depth, emotion, and a touch of pizzazz to your artwork. Imagine a tranquil beach scene with varying shades of blue water and tints of golden sand—pure magic!

Blending Brilliance - From Gradient to Radiance

Blending colour is your ticket to awe-inspiring artistry. While you can purchase any shade imaginable from an art supply store, understanding how to mix your own colour allows you to create seamless sunsets, gradient skys, and gives you the ability to change the tone, brightness and vibrancy of your paintings.

With this newfound wisdom, your brush is a wand, and your palette becomes a symphony of possibility. So now that you know the basics, let’s get painting! If you’re keen to test out your blending skills in a fun encouraging environment, then come along to Paintvine and discover how much fun playing with colour really is.