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  1. Color theory is a good foundation for painting, but it doesn't deal with some of the surprising and fun things paint can do. Color theory is a limited approximation that works with light, but not really with paint, because in paint there are no colors, there is only chemistry. And that's a good thing. Pigments are chemical substances chosen for their optical properties, but they are more than just their optical properties. And you can do a lot with them. Any two colors can be blended in a myriad of ways: physically mixed, layered one over the other, layered the other over the one, blended optically with tiny brushstrokes -- and each method can produce an entirely different effect and apparent color, just from two original paints. As many of you are aware, in my day job I'm a fine artist and when painting minis I tend to mix my own colors rather than rely on premixed miniatures paints. In a few threads people have asked me about various color mixes, so I figured I'd pull some of them together in this thread to make them (hopefully) easier to find. *** In my current WIP thread, "Pingo Builds a Boat", I said Well, naturally I got some questions. Phthalo green (copper phthalocyanine) is a really intense, pure, blueish green. It's related to phthalo blue, which is also intense and pure and close to a printer's cyan. They are related, but phthalo green is clearly and obviously green when you look at it, and phthalo blue is blue. When I mixed my purple, I didn't just mix phthalo green with any old red (certainly not the flame orange reds they give to unwary kindergarteners). I mixed it with quinacridone magenta, a deep hot pink-red which is close to a printer's magenta. A more muted green, or a yellower one, or a more orangey red would have produced something a lot more brown and mucky. Mixed colors are always more subdued than the colors you start with. But both phthalo green and quinacridone magenta are very pure, intense colors. Even a mix of them is still pretty bright. This is one of the palettes I have been using to paint the boat in the other thread: The phthalo green is in the lower left corner. It's very dark full strength but thinned down even a little becomes an intense emerald green. There's a tiny blob of quinacridone at the top between the two different reddish browns. You can see how the color mix between them snaked out through blue to violet (mixed-in white makes the color easier to see, although I did it for painting reasons originally). Yes, that's right. Not only can you mix green and red to make purple, you can mix a blue from green and red. Isn't color mixing fun? To show things a little more clearly, I've laid out some paint on waxed paper over white paper towels. First, this is phthalo blue (which we're not using at all, but I'm including it to show how it is different from phthalo green) at the top. Below it is phthalo green, and to the right is quinacridone magenta. In each case I've used water to thin the paint out to the right so you can see how transparent layers of it look, and I've mixed a little blob of white paint with each color at its top left so you can see how it looks mixed. (Note that the white-mixed colors are already less intense than even the pale thinned paint) To get an idea of the vividness of the colors, here's that palette amongst my painting set-up. And here is a good big blend from phthalo green at the left to quinacridone magenta at the right, with a few spots picked out for mixing with white to show color undertones. Note that all of the mixes are considerably darker than the original colors, even the one with only a touch of red added to the green, but that they don't really get close to the black color theory says they should become. However, note that that is a pretty nice blue right in the middle. The violet I used on the boat was more from the right third region, where the mix is dominated by the quinacridone and the sample blended with white shows clearly a lavender purple. Finally, here are a couple of minis (still works-in-progress) painted with this green-and-red mixed purple. Illithids are described as having "greenish-mauve" flesh, and by tipping the mix a little this way and that they can have skin that is both violet and green harmoniously. Oh, and the trousers on the one on the right are painted with the mixed blue from above.
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