View Full Version : Muddy colors :o(

09-01-2000, 02:15 PM
Are you familar with Nita Leland's book on colors. One of her color wheels is Split Primaries with 2 of each primary color: ie a orange yellow and a greeny yellow; a green blue and a purple blue; and a bule red and an orange red. By not crossing the mid point of the primary you can mix without getting mud. I may not be writting this very clearly but most libraries have her book.

09-01-2000, 02:45 PM
Dear sassybird,

You can even access Nita's site at: http://www.nitaleland.com/

There she features lots of articles, tips and offers tapes, "Exploring Color I" & "II" which actually demonstrates some of what's in the book.

In addition to Amelia suggested, one thing that helps me avoid mud, is to minimize how many colors you mix together. Start with no more that two, and only add another color if you need to shift the mixture.

09-01-2000, 07:16 PM
Yes, I agree minimize the number of colours you mix. Try to use mainly two mixed with just a touch of a third when necessary.
I also found my colours got muddy when I was relying too much on Paynes grey,I have since
thrown it out and my mixing has improved immensely,

Rodzart from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rodzart/)

09-01-2000, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the advice. I have one watercolor posted "Reflections", and I did alright on that, but since I got lost...lol
I will give that website a looksie.


09-02-2000, 12:38 AM
I have just taken watercolors back up after being away from them about 15 yrs. I am having trouble with getting muddy colors, and I don't know what I am doing wrong. I need help on this.


09-04-2000, 04:51 AM
I think that it could depend on the pigments contained in each color, that "hide" complementary hues giving muddy results. So I use only w/c colors that have more just 1 pigment; in this way mixing 3 colors means mixing just 3 pigments, and avoid the risk to mix a red containing a bit of yellow pigment with a blue to get violet, that becomes mud due to the yellow.

This subject was also dealed with in the poste "color palette" of this forum.

I hope this can help,
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif ciao, rapolina.

09-04-2000, 05:18 AM
Artistry, thanks for that link. I have picked up some good hints there.


Lady Artist
09-13-2000, 09:04 AM
This is wierd...I do this for a living but find it hard to explain how I do what I do to make something work. I don't even look at color names most of the time. I just go to the tube I know works, squeeze it out and go. I think one of the best ways to avoid a muddy color if you are just learning to do watercolors or havent' used them in a long time is to keep a practice paper next to your actual work and try out your combinations on it before you apply them to your work. I think it is very easy to say, oh, mix a little of gamboge with a little of cerulean and you will get this effect. But in actuality, color mixing all depends upon how much of each you use as well as how many and their final effect against the colors it's applied next to. I don't think it's a science of 2ml of this or 5 ml of that. It's something you begin to "feel" eventually. It's the feel and look of a puddle of paint, just knowing this is right and it's going to work when you apply it to paper. That only comes with working with this lovable medium over and over again. Paint, paint, paint and enjoy the process! There are no mistakes, no one's grading this, and it's a constant learning and growing experience. Compare your work of today with that of when you lst began -- you've gotten better! I know it!

09-14-2000, 02:09 AM
Lady Artist, I keep a test sheet nearby now. A lot is coming back to me after being away from watercolor so long. I am working daily on pieces now, and am getting a good portfolio started.


09-14-2000, 05:50 AM
Hi Sass,
Try the book Blue and Yellow dont make Green by Wilcox. All will be revealed.