Mix It Up: Learn to Mix Any Color With Acrylic Paint | Court McCracken | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Mix It Up: Learn to Mix Any Color With Acrylic Paint

teacher avatar Court McCracken, Make art and cultivate creativity!

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Preparing the painting surface

    • 3. How to mix acrylic paint

    • 4. Keep painting & completing your painting

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class


Hi! I'm Court McCracken, an artist and creativity cultivator. I have been painting on my beautiful wooden easel since the age of 6. I absolutely love the process of painting.

The #1 thing I hear from people when they learn I am a painter is, "I wish I could do that too! But every time I try, my paint just gets all muddy!"

But you can learn to paint by learning to Mix It Up!

That is why I am so passionate about this material.

I know what an amazing leap it is to understand paint and color. When I teach this material to my students, I see the possibilities open up for them as they realize that they can understand color and paint! 

It is an eye opening experience when you truly learn to Mix It Up! 

If you are out there, thinking the same thing to yourself, "I wish I could paint, but each time I try, I just become frustrated", then this class is the place to begin.

Mix It Up will provide a strong foundation of the basic properties of color and paint that we act as a jumping off point for further painting adventures.


This class is for true painting beginners or anyone who would like to deepen their understanding of color with paint. 

The skills learned in this class will serve as a foundation of color theory and proper use of acrylic paint.

The project completed in this class will be a color guide to be used as a place of exploring color and can be used in the future to guide and inform any further paintings!

The first step is gathering proper supplies and preparing your painting surface.

The second step will be learning the three main properties of color, gaining a grasp on the color wheel and why it is useful for learning to paint, and understanding the properties of acrylic paint.

The third part will be creating our mixes & exploring the depth, subtleties and beauty of color through painting! 


Materials needed to participate in this class and complete the project are:

  • Rives BFK white paper (or equivalent heavy paper)
  • White Gesso, larger brush for priming paper with Gesso
  • Fine grain piece of sand paper
  • Basic student acrylic paint (colors needed: RED, YELLOW, BLUE, & WHITE)
  • pencil & ruler
  • painters pallet (not wooden, as those are for oil paint) or butchers tray, or ceramic or porcelain plate. Some students also use large tupperware containers as you can spray them with water and seal the top to save paint for longer.
  • Spray bottle for water
  • A Set of synthetic haired brushes for acrylic paint
  • Painters tape 

If you have been experiencing the desire to paint, but didn't know where to start, Mix It Up is the class for you! You will learn a strong foundation in color mixing and materials to get you going on your exciting adventure of learning to paint! I love to make painting fun and accessible for students of all ages! With Mix It Up, you will not be intimidated to begin painting!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Court McCracken

Make art and cultivate creativity!


Court McCracken is a visual artist, author, & founder of Art Nurture. Her book, Art Nurture: The Simple Guide to Cultivating Your Creativity, was released October 14th, 2013.

She has studied studio art at Mars Hill University, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Parsons School of Design-New York City, and Perugia, Italy. She teaches fine art at the Asheville Art Museum and has taught abroad in Beijing, China & Bangkok, Thailand.

Court understands that a deeper knowledge of the basics of color mixing and color theory create a strong foundation for further visual art exploration.

You can learn more about Court McCracken at www.artnurture.com & www.courtmccracken.com and follow on Twitter with handle @ArtNurture

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


2. Preparing the painting surface: - time court McCracken, - and this is my skill share class. - Mix it up. - How to mix any color. - You like an acrylic paint in this class. - We're going to go over the materials that you need to get started. - Basic properties of paint and the three principles of color. - You're going to get to know how to mix it up so that you don't get that murky, - frustrated feeling that most people get when they start trying to paint. - That is usually what keeps people from pursuing their ideas or dreams of painting is. - It's very simple steps. - So we'll go over and you'll get to know exactly what it is, - and it will help you move forward all your future painting adventures. - The very first stop is we're going to prepare our painting service. - Okay, - so Reeves GfK because it's a cotton rab paper. - It's very common in the printmaking world. - It has these really nice feathered, - feathery soft edges that are called a knuckle edge, - Okay, - and the reason that this paper has this type of edge is because it's poured into a frame - and in handmade, - and so what I like to do is for the for this painting is you buy these in really large - sheets is that I'll actually go ahead and show you how to rip the paper. - And so the first thing I'm gonna do is I'll go ahead and measure about halfway across the - paper, - and then I'm gonna line my ruler up. - After I made a point on this side and a point on this side. - I'm gonna hold it firmly down. - And instead of cutting or using Exacto knife for this, - I'm going to hold the ruler down with quite a lot of pressure on my hand. - I'm slowly going toe cool the paper up just a little bit at a time, - okay? - I don't want to do too much. - And I just kind of rock back and forth to get a more consistent look so that when I'm - tearing this paper down, - the look is more soft and consistent with the other edges of the paper that show the - handmade tray dried paper. - Okay, - so I'll divide my paper up until I get some small rectangles. - The next step is I'm going to attach it to my Masonite board, - which will be my surface of painting. - And I like it. - It's nice it doesn't work. - It's really amazing. - Super easy. - And then you can have a stock full of these working on different paintings at the same time - . - The first thing I'll dio here was Go ahead and take down the corners of my paper On the - next step, - IHS, - I'll go ahead and use about half the distance of the tape to cut in on edge. - Now some people are super meticulous and they want to get out there. - Ruler. - And they want to measure exactly the line. - Um, - that the tape is going on and you can feel free to do that. - I am not so hung up on that. - The most important thing about doing the tape and you want to use small pieces of tape, - not one long piece of tape. - And I'll tell you why later, - when we go ahead to take, - are feeding off of the board. - The most important aspect of this is that you really want to get the paper sealed down on - Teoh, - the Masonite board that just makes it easier for you to work on. - You can see the one on the left here have already done the next step is I'm going to use - Jess. - Oh, - this is essentially a fine art Painters primer for your surface, - So it's kind of the same thing as using a primer on your wall before you paint the color. - My sister likes to call it G Zo, - but it's g e s S o and with Jess. - Oh, - what you need to dio is you want a mix it with just a little bit of water, - and that's going to be our secret ingredient when we're working with our mixes with acrylic - paint. - So I always dad my brush and just a little bit of water don't need it to the super thick. - Some justice can be very, - very thick. - And when you're painting on paper, - it's not necessary to use a super super that dress. - Oh, - you always want to pin it down just a little bit of water and you want to go lightly. - Cover the surface. - If we were prime ing canvas with dress so we might do two or three layers, - each with a step of sanding with sandpaper in between my own needs sandpaper. - But with this, - since we're just working on paper for this project, - will only need to do one layer, - and you just want to make sure that it's really nicely, - evenly coated and that will help the paper hold the paint that we're going to put on it. - So after I kind of smooth it out and make sure it's coated in all four corners A. - Let it dry already over on this, - let it dry. - So the next step is I'll take a sheet of sandpaper and it doesn't have to be super firm. - It can be really thin grade. - If you're doing campus a gun, - you'd want a heavier grade of sandpaper and you just want to go in light. - Circular Miss Theo over the top of the paper and you can see that the paper has has bubbled - just a little bit from the moisture of the jest. - So and water that is totally fine and normal, - it really doesn't matter. - The next thing we're going to dio is we're gonna go ahead and start marking out some areas - on our painting surface and again, - some people are very meticulous. - Some people really, - really like for this to be like a chart and very formulaic. - I like it to be a little more fun than that. - I feel like when sometimes for certain personalities, - when we make things too hard on ourselves, - it's, - um It trips us up, - and we don't end up making any artwork. - And so the whole point of this is to get your painting to get you going and to not be stuck - . - You don't want to be stuck in something that doesn't matter. - So I say if it's going to keep you from painting, - don't get hung up on it. - Keep moving forward. - Okay? - That's why I like to make it as simple as possible so you can focus. - All right. - So I'm gonna divide up my painting surface into four squares and then inside each of those - squares, - I'm gonna divide them up again, - okay? 3. How to mix acrylic paint: - so the next part of our product now that we've got our surface prepared, - we've given ourselves some guidelines. - Gonna talk a little bit about color and how color works. - And that's what this project is all about. - It's about getting you comfortable with color and mixing color. - Okay, - so here's our color wheel, - and you'll notice all of the colors on it. - Um, - when things are opposite of each other on the color wheel, - there are known as complementary colors. - Okay, - blue and orange or complementary colors. - Red and green are complementary colors, - and yellow and purple or violet are complementary colors. - When you mix complementary colors, - they always bring what's called a true gray. - Many people think that gray is a mature a black and white, - but a true great is really a mixture of compliments. - And they do. - It's called mixing down, - so they'll dull each other out. - If you take blue and you mix it up, - a little bit of orange will kind of dull it down and give you that really dark, - stormy blue like a cloud in the sky. - Okay. - Conversely, - if you also put complementary colors and next to each other, - they make each other. - Pop. - You probably noticed a lot of complementary colors are used. - Some of your favorite teams logos or from your favorite restaurants, - colors things like that because they tell our brain that they're exciting because they work - to get their lights up. - Complementary colors are always made up of a primary and a secondary color primary color is - going to be red, - yellow. - I'm blue, - and that's all we're gonna use along with some weight to help work on our mixes. - Okay, - Secondary color is made out to primaries, - so red is a primary. - And then the second dairy is made out of blue and yellow. - All right, - and then blue is a primary and the secondary, - the complement of it would be made out of yellow and red. - That's orange. - Same thing for purple. - So you've got yellow is your primary and then your secondary is made out of blue and red - dots purple. - All right, - so in this we're gonna explore kind of the subtleties and first will probably start with - something really symbolic blue. - And this is how I said at my palate, - I always put my colors along the outside edge of the palace that I can mix in the middle, - okay. - And the first mix we're gonna start with, - we'll start with blue in the upper left hand corner. - And I want to show you just what the blue looks like. - A tip about working with acrylic paint. - And this is something that's so, - so, - so important. - And many people don't know this is that pain is always giving you a clue about how to help - it slow. - Okay, - when you hear people say, - what's your medium or what's your medium? - Acrylic paint is a water based medium, - which means that it needs water to flow. - So without that water, - you're gonna get a lot of that like chalky and drag. - And you're not gonna be able to really mix the two colors together to get like subtleties. - It's a lot of people. - I find that when the first starting out that is their main frustration is that they don't - know to use water to help them next. - So I always did my brush just a little bit of water to start off with, - and you'll notice that some pigments are also really, - really, - really translucent, - so kind of see that here is it. - Go ahead and put it down just quickly. - Pain in the square. - And as I go down, - I'm going to add just a little tiny bit of white every time. - And when you add weight to paint it, - a pacify zit makes it more opaque. - And as I go down, - you can see that I'm calling the brush in the direction that the brush hairs air going. - That's another really important tip. - A lot of people will push the brush in or scrub it back and forth. - The brush hairs tell you what direction to hold a brush. - And as I go down from a little painting chart here, - I'm gonna continue to increase the percentage of white paint that I'm putting in. - And sometimes I go back and I touched my brush back into a little bit of the water, - and you can see that with this, - just two colors blue and white. - I'm already getting worlds apart. - This is where the subtlety and painting comes from and where a lot of people get caught up - They want to do just one thing, - . - but there's so many infinite choices in between. - You can see kind of the consistency of the paint. - It's not talkie. - It's got a nice like flow to it. - Pools across the surface really nicely. - I love pain. - It's kind of delicious to me. - Looks like frosting sometimes, - Um, - and something you also want to remember about acrylic cane? - Is that it always dry about 10 to 15% darker than what it looks like on your palates. - Okay, - so now I've taken my one color blue have slowly added some white. - Okay? - And this is really important because this is one of the properties of color. - Color has three main properties to it. - That's you. - Intensity and value. - U means what color is it? - Just the local color. - It's blue. - Okay, - Intensity needs. - How much blue is in its electric Blue is a really dull blue, - and value means the lightness or darkness of that blue. - Some we add white, - obviously making it lighter and value. - Andi, - if you were to add a compliment to it, - it would make it more adult, - less intense and darker, - which the complement of blue would be orange. - In this project, - we're not going to use black because I want you to explore color and black, - adding black paint is kind of like turning the dimmer switch on the color. - So it's like turning the dimmer switch in your dining room. - You have one of those little flip but things. - Alright, - Somebody get another. - Get this fresh out like you swear brushes. - And as I go across this way, - I'm gonna add another color to my blue. - So called impulse and blue also a little bit And the yellow don't go ahead and mix my green - . - You can see this is true for translucent cry and this brings us into properties of paint - translucent. - Okay, - those were some of the properties that we need to consider when we're working with We've - got the properties of colored properties of art medium what we're working with as I go - across in this, - but I'm gonna add more and more yellow each time. - And the reason I'm doing this is because I want Eunice Patrick to see how just little tiny - changes and not formula. - How much of each pigment use. - I will give you adept a deeper understanding of color, - more variety of color and will ultimately make your paintings more interesting to look at. - They also become very interesting to look at start adding layers of those which are - probably trying to one another. - First, - let's get just to get that next time. - So this you can see I didn't fully makes the two pigments very well, - but that's okay. - I'm sort of fine with that. - Still in meat color. - Okay, - Coming down when I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna take this green, - and I'm gonna add a little bit of light to it. - So I'm gonna get again another brush and do it again. 4. Keep painting & completing your painting: - So this is the completion of my first quadrant of my abstract painted color chart here. - And so I started with just the basic, - blew up here in the upper left hand corner on. - As I went down, - I just increase my level of white again. - It came back up here with me basic blue, - and as they went across, - I increased my yellow in that formula. - You can see that at first with just very little yellow. - It's a darker green, - and as I added more yellow, - it became more of a lighter grass screen. - I think continued my idea of my formula, - kind of making my recipe varying the levels of blue, - yellow and white Sit down here. - Each of these is a mixture of blue, - yellow and white. - You can see I have very clearly 12 different types of green, - and all I was using was just blue, - yellow and white on. - The truth is, - is in between these greens, - I could have created even more these air about 10 to 15% jumps and color. - I could have done even more subtle shifts, - So in each of the next, - quadrants go ahead and complete by exploring other colors, - probably in the next one. - I'll come over here and do something with orange. - It's just my palate. - So far, - you can see I've got a lot of stuff going on here. - Um, - I'm always going back and forth with my paintbrush. - A little bit of the water, - a little bit more that you kind of go back and forth until you blend it. - You get it nice and mixed. - And you always gonna make sure has kind of like this frosting like consistency. - Okay, - it's not too stiff. - It's not too watery, - all right, - Especially when you're learning how to mix. - And this is kind of the motion that I go in when I'm learning how to mix. - Was gonna go ahead and finish this and talk to you a little bit of the end. - When using acrylic paint, - it's important to know that it can dry quickly. - So I like to keep ah, - spray bottle of water. - Just handy to kind of keep it open. - Keep the paint workable. - When you go to remove your tape from your painting board, - you wanna wait for your painting to completely dry and then keep your fingers very close to - the surface, - pulling very slowly and away from the painting. - All right, - so here it is our finished abstract color chart painting that acts as a guide for us on - when we are mixing with acrylic paint. - We always want to keep Arkalyk paint morning by lately missing it. - Okay. - We always want to keep tons of clean water by because you don't want to be mixing your - paint with murky water that will just muss up your colors. - You want to keep some towels nearby to die of your precious, - and you always I'm gonna be going and defining your brush back in the water and just - clearly pulling. - I'm just gonna pull this and this, - okay, - pain a little bit. - Here. - The color wheel is an amazing reference tool and also list for you some other reference - tools in my additional materials. - And I will show you, - like if you're working with yellow, - here's what adding blue will do to it. - Here's what adding red will do to it's It's amazing tool for helping you and always you won - a reference back. - You are color guide there some variations you can do to make it a little more abstract. - You could change the with. - You can make it look more like color bans. - It doesn't have to be squares or rectangles. - You can really change it up and mix it up to play with it. - The whole point is getting you comfortable with mixing a variety of colors. - Subtle color changes, - playing with compliments. - Okay, - remember the three properties of color but few intensity on value. - Cute is what color is it? - Intensity? - How much color is in it on value? - How light or dark? - Is it? - OK, - and when you're working with the paint, - you're working with the properties of translucent to opaque. - All right, - so you'll notice the more white you add any of your pain, - the more opaque at will become, - and certain paint pigments are naturally more opaque, - and certain paint pigments are naturally more translucent. - So it's great to start with just the basics. - Your primary colors and a little bit of white, - a little bit of water, - some good acrylic brushes and have fun