Mixing clean colors and keeping your palette organized can be a challenge! Here are some practical tips you can use whether you are painting in the studio or plein air.
- Don’t swoosh; wipe
- Strings not piles
- Mix with a palette knife
- Scrape and remix
Don’t swoosh;wipe. Dunking your brush in turp during the painting process not only puts a dirty film on your brush but also affects the viscosity of your paint, making it thinner. This is particularly problematic when you’re painting wet in wet. So get in the habit of wiping your brush after each stroke. Hold a rag or paper towel in your opposite hand and get into a rhythm—stroke, wipe, reload, stroke, wipe, reload, stroke, etc.
Strings not piles. Putting out small little daps of paint on your palette insures you’ll have contaminated color. Put out long fat strings of color so you can pull from clean areas as you mix.
Mix with a palette knife. Get into the habit of always mixing with a palette knife, even as you paint. It’s much easier to mix and wipe your knife as you pick up fresh paint. Plus you don’t get any residue from your brush into your new paint mixtures.
Premix. Premixing before you start to paint solves all kinds of problems. It allows you time to assess the values and value ranges for each plane of the landscape. But, it also keeps your mixes clean.
Scrape and remix. Keeping your palette organized as you paint can be a challenge. If you find yourself without room to mix, stop, scrape and remix. The fresh color you’ll have is worth it!
P.S. Our online course Practical Color Mixing for Landscape Painters is now available On Demand!