Mixing and relationships based on a
DOUBLE PRIMARY color wheel
Primary colors are the base hues that cannot be mixed using other colors. Red-Blue-Yellow.
Traditionally we learn that mixing Red+Blue = purple. Red+Yellow = orange. Yellow+Blue = green.
These are called the Secondary colors – and in varying degrees they fill out the color wheel.
The DOUBLE PRIMARY color wheel that I use presents these 3 primary colors with 2 hues of each
2 Blues purple BLUE/green BLUE
2 Reds violet RED/orange RED
The successful mixing of pure, clean, secondary colors (purple, orange, green) requires the correct choice of a primary
hue plus a closely related primary hue.
The incorrect combination gives a more muted, greyed “muddy” mixture.
I am using the term “correct” but there really
is no rule for what the “right” color is. It will depend on the placement, size and adjacent color relationships that determine whether the color looks bright or muted in place on your painting.
Sometimes the muted color will be the one you are trying to achieve!
The challenge with color mixing is understanding what will influence the outcome – in a reliable and consistent way. The Double Primary is part of my daily art practice. I can’t stress enough to the beginner artist how important it is to test, compare and understand the various hues of your pre-mixed (out of the tube) primary and other paint colors.