View Full Version : Muted Color

Alex Sunder
04-23-2008, 02:50 PM
Iīve been reading a book about color mixing and the author at some point wrote about "muted raw sienna as an imprimatura color".

What does he means with muted color? Whats the difference of this "muted" raw sienna and the one directly from the tube?


04-23-2008, 03:18 PM
Hi Alex, muted in this context means duller (less brilliant, lower in chroma).


Alex Sunder
04-23-2008, 04:30 PM
Thanks Einion! So, itīs NOT about adding WHITE or BLACK to the color?
How could I make a duller version of my Raw Sienna? I mean wich color could I add on it?

Thanks again!

04-23-2008, 09:36 PM
Raw Sienna's one of those earths that varies so much it's hard to recommend a mixing complement, but try French Ultramarine. The mix will be much darker than the sienna so you'll need to add white if you want to keep the value around the same.

If the colour ends up looking too greenish to you then just add a spot of red, orange or a red earth to compensate.


04-24-2008, 12:55 AM
I was always taugh to add the complimentary color in varying degrees to naturally mute any color.

As far as an imprimatura color goes, again I was always taught to use Yellow or Golden Ochre as the staining agent. In years since I use Raw Sienna.

Some of the old masters had their apprentices use the Ochre to stain the ground and then inked in the drawing. With a flake lead and another darkening pigment painted the basic values that established the shape of the objects in the painting. When that was accomplished, then a basic layin of the color was established. When that stage of the painting was finished the master artist painted the finishing touches.

I have a pic of the process but copyright, so!!!

tunde olaifa
04-24-2008, 07:03 AM
Einion, thanks for your comments on "muted colours" but you are yet to mention something about "imprimatura colour"

Eduardo Flores
04-24-2008, 08:04 AM
...So, itīs NOT about adding WHITE or BLACK to the color?...
Any color can be muted adding its complementary color: as Einion indicated, in the case of Raw Sienna (belonging to the family of Oranges) the complementary is found in the area of the Blue.
An important point: in this case of mixing paints the exact complementaries are given by the Red/Yellow/Blue color system, whilst when looking at a picture for evaluation of the harmony of colors, the system that must be used is the Red/Green/Blue.
A better explanation of this issue, that frequently generates confusion, can be found at
Not only confusion: the use of the RYB system for evaluating a chromatic accord or contrast can give incorrect results.


04-24-2008, 10:34 AM
Einion, thanks for your comments on "muted colours" but you are yet to mention something about "imprimatura colour"
That's because Alex didn't ask about that ;)

If you need a definition of imprimatura have a look in the WC! glossary, created as a resource for members so they wouldn't have to go off-site to check on common terms.


Alex Sunder
04-24-2008, 11:51 AM
Hey guys, thanks a lot for your replyes!
Much appreciated!


tunde olaifa
04-25-2008, 05:02 AM
Einion, thanks for the link i never knew what i have being missing.