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Why Make a Watercolor Mixing Chart?

November 29, 2016

Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolor Mixing Chart

When I first got my Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolors, I knew it would have been “methodically right” to create a color chart – making a square of each of the watercolors and labeling it with its name. And even doing the same with a mixture of each pair of colors. That seemed tedious and not a lot of fun, so I didn’t do it.

Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolor Tubes

After several weeks went by, after watching some YouTube videos with watercolor charts like this one, and after having painted a bit with my watercolors, I got curious about making my own watercolor chart.

I’m happy that I did. Here are a few reasons why:

I learned which of my colors mixed together make black (Sepia and Indigo), and which make grey (various options, such as Emerald and Permanent Rose). Look them up in the chart and see! 😉

I found out that mixtures of some colors create muddy, chalky, opaque colors that lose the elegance and transparency of watercolor. This is probably due to these watercolors being student grade and not artist grade. Which makes me look forward to getting the Daniel Smith artist grade watercolors I ordered and making a mixing chart with those to compare the results.

Muddy Chalky Watercolor Mix

I found that Phthalo Blue mixed with a green such as Viridian or Emerald makes a gorgeous turquoise color!

I felt proud of myself that I accomplished this feat of perseverance and patience 🙂 So many squares were filled!

I realized that this chart doesn’t reflect the gradations of color you could get by mixing any two colors. Since there’s only one square representing the mixture of a pair of colors, the chart doesn’t represent what happens when you mix the two colors in different proportions. Yellow Ochre with just a touch of Indigo? Indigo with just a touch of Yellow Ochre? And so on. This prompted me to experiment even more with my watercolors and keep learning.

Now I have this watercolor mixing chart for future reference, whenever I need it. Yay!

How about you? Have you made a mixing chart of your watercolors? Do you plan to give it a go?

Watch this video, where I show the process of making this watercolor chart, and talk about what I learned along the way:

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