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Mixing Darks and Chromatic Greys.


Hi Guys, this week I m mixing Chromatic Darks and Greys.

Chromatic Darks and Greys are made using a combination of red, blue and yellow and depending which of these you use, you will achieve a different outcome.This is what we are about to explore.

As you can see from the picture to the left, Chromatic Darks are more interesting than using black or brown from a tube. I do have a few convenience Darks that I have in my kit when I paint,ie Paynes Violet, but I almost always splice these with other colours and rarely use any colour straight from the tube.

Below you will see four versions of primary oil pigment mixes to compare. For the first two I have used the same blue and yellow and used different reds. On the left I have mixed Cadmium red, Ultra-marine blue and Indian yellow and on the right Alizarin crimson, Ultra-marine blue and Indian yellow.

The chromatic dark in the centre of each is a balance of all three primaries, moving out from this I have made red heavy dark, a blue heavy dark and a yellow heavy dark, after which I have added a little Flake white to each, to make chromatic greys. Have a go at mixing these yourselves and let me know how you get on.

Above I have changed the blue Ultra-marine for a Phthalo blue and mixing these with Cadmium red on the left and Alizarin crimson on the right and both with Indian yellow. Again the centre dark is a balance of all three primaries, moving out to red heavy dark, blue heavy dark and a yellow heavy dark. These were then mixed with Flake white to chromatic greys.

Below I have repeated the same thing but using Cadmium yellow instead of Indian yellow. At the top you can see Alizarin crimson, Phthalo blue and Cadmium yellow. To the right of this is Cadmium red, Phthalo blue and Cadmium yellow. The darks and greys are mixed as above.

Lastly, above is a mix of Alizarin crimson, Ultra-marine blue and Cadmium yellow and to the right of this is a mix of Cadmium red, Ultra-marine blue and Cadmium yellow. These are mixed into darks and chromatic greys as above.

It is so useful to see these mixes all together to compare how the colours work together and its really obvious from this that the Cadmium red and Cadmium yellow that I used as primaries were obviously mixed with a little white out of the tube as these are opaque whereas all the other primaries are transparent. I hope you have enjoyed this, be sure to let me know how you get on with your mixing. Enjoy your painting.


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