Famous Artist That Focuses On Neutral Colors And Fashion How to Make Gray and Brown Paint Using Primary Colors

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How to Make Gray and Brown Paint Using Primary Colors

This title was presented by the editor as a challenge, so how could a painter resist it? I could imagine how it would be done, but had never actually tried it. I went out and experimented. See what you think of my results below.

And I’ll add some definitions for those readers who are taking the first steps on their journey to becoming an artist.

  • So what is a neutral hue?

Neutral shades: Neutrals can be loosely classified as grays or browns. In experienced hands they are a number of very subtle blends of colors used throughout the painting. Method is as follows.

1) make gray

The easiest way to achieve gray by mixing three primary colors is: Blend blue and red evenly to create a rough purple. Add small amounts of yellow to that mixture until a dark gray appears.

*What is Chroma?

This value represents the darkness or lightness of the color.

2) make brown

Blend equal parts blue and yellow to get raw green. Gradually add red to that mixture until you get the right brown color. For example, your current painting may require a less intense brown or chroma.

Adding white to a new brown mix might seem like a no-brainer. But this would be a big mistake. Instead, add yellow.

  • How to avoid making mud

All this mixing should be done on a pallet using a palette knife. This is the only way to achieve a “clean” color mix, which is essential when using grays or browns. In the excitement of creating a new painting, it’s very easy to reach for your brush and start mixing colors directly on the canvas. Wiping a brush with a rag or rinsing with a tarp does not remove all the pigment from the bristles, despite what you see in Hollywood movies about famous artists. and turn them into mud.

Tip. I highly recommend getting into the habit of using the brush to apply the paint, not to mix it.

  • Other ways to create neutral

You can create much more subtle neutrals from the colors you use in your current painting. For example, if you’re painting a landscape with storm clouds overhead, you’ve probably used a mix of cobalt blue and white for the sky background. If you want to create grays to further define these clouds, do this:

  • Take some cobalt blue and mix it with its complementary color* – burnt sienna – and you get a subtle gray tone by mixing it with white.

*What is complement?

This is the color on the other side of the color wheel from Dominant* Hue. For example, the complementary or opposite color of blue-violet is yellow-green.

*What is Dominant Hue?

You guessed this, right? This is the most widely used color or hue in the paintings we are working on. So if your painting is a portrait and you want the subject’s hair color to be accentuated with a dark, neutral brown, try the following method.

  • Mix a red earth such as burnt sienna (I’ve used it for a portrait skin tone) with an ultramarine blue to create a deep, neutral brown.

Experimentation is the only way to find the mixture that works best for your style and your chosen subject, whether you want to create neutrals with primary colors or otherwise. As a bonus, I’m looking forward to trying it. (C)Dorothy Gauvin

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