Monday, December 15

Tales from the Palette: Mixing the Color Blue-Violet

Old Man River
Acrylic on Paper
9 x 12 in/22.9 x 30.5 cm
It's been a while since I've done a Tales from the Palette blog. The other two were: mixing the color turquoise and mixing the color beige/tan. I like to pass along what I've learned about mixing paint colors that are, for me anyway, somewhat troublesome, which is why I refer to it as Tales from the Palette.

It sounds ridiculously simple. If you ask any painter, they'll tell you, just mix blue and red; it's right there on the color wheel at about 10:00 o'clock.

OK, I'm not talking about plain-old violet (which Wikipedia says is halfway between blue and magenta on the color wheel). As with many things in life, there are a lot of different shades of this color, just look at what else Wikipedia has to say about it.

No, the color of violet I'm talking about is the blue-violet I strive for when I'm painting landscapes or seascapes or cityscapes or actually any painting in which I want to show the illusion of distance. Most painters know to use more blue when you want things to appear in the distance to simulate the atmosphere.

To help you imagine the color, it's in today's image above. It's that color in the distant ridge where it meets the river between the trees.

Many manufacturers have tried to help by offering colors with names such as light ultramarine blue, light blue violet, violet grey, and several others.

However, I like to call my mixture Vanishing Violet. I mix it with ultramarine blue, a very little alizarin crimson, and titanium white. The trick is to mix those colors in just the right proportions to get the distance that best suits your painting.

I hope you find this helpful as you discover your very own personal "tale from the palette."  

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