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2 Tricks to Painting and Enjoying Intense Dark Colors

Posted on March 07, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Rich, luscious dark chocolate or a forkful of oozing blueberry pie; what makes these scrumptious foods catch your eye? Besides delectable, it is their bold, inky color.

Capturing rich dark color is easy to spot in photographs as the camera catches the authenticity, but what if you’re a painter?

1. Avoid the color black: I find the trick to capturing that luminous richness is to avoid mixing colors with black. Colors like Jet black and Mars black are a combination of many colors. I discovered that when I mix more than three colors on my palette the results tend to be muddy. So I avoid black and mix with pure pigments.

Like in the video, my favorite is Thalo green and Alizarin Crimson red. It is the perfect match for the deep shadows of an evergreen tree, and if I add more red, it is the perfect rich color to give raspberries depth. Don't forget the power of mixing with intense blues.

2. Make a chart. To become more familiar with the characteristics of the watercolor pigment, here is a helpful concept. Simply line up your dark pigments and make a grid as you mix. The next time you paint, use the chart as a guide to find the perefct dark shade for your compostion. I think you’ll like the results of mixing your own colored pigments instead of reaching for the black tube of paint.

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