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Mixing Colors and Avoiding Mud : Watercolor Demonstrations

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Published on Apr 22, 2009

http://www.cheapjoes.com -- Welcome to Cheap Joe's Test Studio!

People tell me all the time that they're really good at making "mud" in watercolor. Well I'm going to show you how to prevent mud and I'm also going to tell you a little bit about what causes watercolor mud.

I have mixed up on my palette - I call it activated when I add water and get these nice colors - this is New Gamboge, Halloween Orange, Lucky Penny, Red Rose Deep and Cobalt Blue.

Now when I mix these up I go to the color, add a little water to activate them, and then I pinch the brush between my finger and thumb like this. That saves all that color in there.

Then I clean the brush and I'm going to come over here and pick up some of this Halloween Orange. Then I'm going to pick up a little of that Cobalt Blue on the other side of the brush and I'm going to come to my paper and put it down. Don't mess with it - look at that, isn't that a pretty color?

Maybe I can put a little more blue in it and see what happens. See the less I mix it on the palette the prettier it is when I put it on the paper.

Let's pick up some of this Lucky Penny right here that I have and some of that Cobalt and see what happens. Wow - isn't that a pretty color! Let's pick up a little bit of the lighter orange while I have that in there and see what it does.

That's a really pretty color, too. See - very little mixing on the palette - mostly mixing on the paper.

I'm going to pick up some more of that Cobalt Blue and some of that Rose Deep. This is rough paper by the way - Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. - and it has that nice texture to it.

Isn't that a pretty color? Just about any two colors you pick up and put on the paper like this are going to be pretty colors. Especially if you let them mix here on the paper.

Let's add some of this Cobalt Blue while these are still wet. Look it still stays clean, and it's going to be a nice greeting card when we get finished.

Let's do the same thing here, across the bottom and up into this area. Isn't that pretty? The colors stay clean and stay rich.

Now watch what happens when I take the same colors and stir it on the palette. I think of this as the Wicked Witch of the West - the more she stirred her brew the more poisonous it became. Same way with watercolor.

Now it's not a bad color, but it doesn't have the same feeling - the life to it - that it does if you let it mix on the paper. That's where we get mud from.

It comes from too much stirring on the palette. Here's a violet using the same colors I made the one next to it, but it's not as pretty as the others will be when they dry.

The more you let the color mix in the brush and on the paper. The less mud you have.

Also you can always mix two colors together and not get mud. You add a third and you almost always get mud.

So, Happy Painting . . . little mud.

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