Luminous Watercolor Mixing: No more mud | Jekaterina Kotelnikova | Skillshare

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Luminous Watercolor Mixing: No more mud

teacher avatar Jekaterina Kotelnikova, Artist & Language Tutor

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.

      Intro to luminous watercolor mixing


    • 2.

      Primary colors


    • 3.

      Secondary colors


    • 4.

      Tertiary colors


    • 5.

      Mixing Blacks


    • 6.

      Browns from blues and orange


    • 7.

      Browns from reds and green


    • 8.

      Browns from yellows and violet


    • 9.

      Mixing out of the triangle and extended color palettes


    • 10.

      Your project


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About This Class

Welcome to Luminous Watercolors Color Mixing class. I’m Kate Amedeo and in this class, we will create our own unique color wheel and learn how to consistently mix vibrant colors from our limited palette. We will talk about what primaries and split primaries are, how to mix secondary colors and what complementary colors are and why temperature matters so much when mixing our watercolors.

By the end of the class, you will create a 15-color color wheel based on your favorite colors.

If you are tired of dull muddy mixes then this class is for you! So grab your brush and watercolors and let’s start!

I want to say one more thing, I love the book Exploring Color Workshop by Nita Leland. It has taught me very much and if you'd like to dive into the color mixing I would strongly suggest you get your hands on a copy! :)

P.S. I hope you find this class useful and have as much fun mixing colors as I do because sometimes it's not the painting that matters it's the process.

Here is a free access link to the class!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jekaterina Kotelnikova

Artist & Language Tutor


Hi there! I'm Kate and I am an artist and an illustrator (and a mom of a wonderful 5-year-old). I live and work in Jelgava, Latvia. 

When I was very young I went to art school but did not finish it as I got really tired of everyone telling me what 'the right way' to do things is. I believe that in art there is no right or wrong :)

I returned to drawing and then painting after I started having problems with my health. Right after I gave birth to my daughter I was in pain 24/7 for over a year and a half when I was finally diagnozed with fibromyalgia (for those of you who are lucky enough not to know what that is, it's an illness that makes your nerves transmit paint which is not there). 

I run my YouTube art channel, Patreon, my little online art school... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro to luminous watercolor mixing: Hi there. Thank you for checking out my class looms Water color mixing if you're tired of mixing mud So this is the class for you in this class, I will show you how to mix colors that actually shine on that are actually vibrant. So it's going to be useful for you as well, because if you do want to mix duller colors on purpose, I will show you how to do that. So we will be using a limited pilot off six colors we're going to be using Cool and the worm a cool in the warm yellows, a warm and cool reds and warm on a cool blues to create old arrest of our colors. I will show you how to mix browns and blacks, and I will explain what primary, secondary and tertiary colors are. 2. Primary colors: so to start with our color real the first handed is I drew out a circle and divided it into three triangles. So when we mix luminous watercolors that is without mud, we have to pay close attention to where our colors air located on the color wheel. And to start off, we will need to take six of our based colors. Cool yellow, a warm yellow Ah, warm bread, a cool red, a warm blue and a cool blue. And we will have to place them on the color wheel. Now I will explain how we do that. If you're having trouble telling which color is warm or which is cool, I will explain it now as well. So it's very easy. As a beginner, I remembered that I was quite struggling with all these emotions, but it's quite simple once you understand how it's done. So first we will place the colors on the color wheel, and then I will explain to you how it is to determine which color school or which is warm. So first we will take our cool yellow, and we will place it on top of the color wheel. On the outside. I wish my brush and I take my warm yellow. Just have a bit more here. When I mix my colors, I make sure that the white of my pilot shines through the mix. That's the right consistency for water colors, as watercolors are transparent water medium, and I would suggest that you buy uh, porcelain or use one of your porcelain. What dishes or this is a serving dish that I brought to and I'm using is my mixing ballot right now, Andi, because how watercolor behaves on porcelain or plastic, it's quite different. So you will see the true color when you're using the porcelain dishes. So I'm taking my warm yellow and I'm placing it right next to my cool yellow. So now you can see that cover triangle that our circle is kind of divided into the cool side and the warm side. This is going to be very important, as we will place the rest of our colors based on how warm or cool they are. So they will be in that side of the triangle now off the circle. So now, now I'm taking my warm red, and I'm placing it right after the yellow here. So warm, yellow and warm red following it. So like that with my core yet Cool, red. I will place it next to my warm red here but to this side, to the left of my warm bread. This way, it kind of leans closer to the cool side of the circle and this one stays closer to the warm side of the circle. Now I have my blues. I have my warm, ultra marine blue. It's a warm because it leans closer to the warm side of the circle towards the red. This is my warm blue and now I'm going to take my cool blue, which is the true blue in White Knights watercolors, and I'm going to place it next to my warm blue here. So this is the base of our colors riel, and we will be mixing our colors from these colors. So let's take a look at it again. We divided our circle into, so we have a cool side with blues on it and the warm side with reds on it. Because blue is a cool color, red is a warm color. Right then our yellows are divided into two hour lemon yellow belongs to the cool side because it's closer to greens. Little place green here, and our cadmium yellow belongs to the warm side because leans closer to the red. So this is it for now for this lesson. And I will see you in the next one where we will be painting our secondary colors. 3. Secondary colors: Are you ready to paint our secondary colors? For that? We're going to have to make some mixing. So now we will have to mix our oranges, purples and greens. Those are the secondary colors. It means that we mix primary colors together to create a secondary color. So the most important rule for luminous water clear mixing ISS mixing within the same triangle. What I mean by that is that if we look at the same triangle, we see that warm red and warm yellow are within it. But cool Red belongs to the next, trying already. So to mix that what we're in just I will take my cadmium yellow, which is the warm yellow, and I will mix it with my warm red, the cab memory. Now I'm going to create this mix until I get the perfect orange that I want. I'm adding a bit off yellow constantly to see how orange I want my mix to be. So to create this 50 50 ratio, you can add a bit more water. Get more yellow to this. I think this is quite good. So I'm taking my orange and I'm placing it right in the middle here. So this is going to be my orange. My secondary color. Now what I do IHS, take my cool red and my warm blue to mix the purple color and place it here washing up my brush and take my cool red with my warm blue This is quite nice. Cool. I think this is good enough. This is my purple secondary between the blue and the red. Now I'm going to take my cool yellow and my cool blue and mix Agree It was in my screen so you can see how transparent and not muddy these colors are. Okay, so I'm quite happy with that. And in the next listen, I will show you how to mix our tertiary colors. 4. Tertiary colors: So for my tertiary colors, I will be mixing my primary with a secondary and I will repeat the same action for all of my colors. So the first thing I do iss I divided the orange that I created into with my brush and now to one side, I will be adding more cadmium yellow, and I'm gonna make it a yellow orange and I will place it on this side. So this is going to be my more more in my cool orange because it leans closer to the cool side, to the yellows and to the other side. I will be adding my cabin bread. This way I will create my red orange. My warmer were INGE. They could just come down a bit more cadmium here. Um, that's enough so you can see the difference between all the three oranges. So now we have the primary colors, the secondary color and the tertiary colors created from it. So let's recap. The primary colors are the colors that we base our color wheel. On the secondary colors are the mixes. Between the primary colors and the tertiary colors are the nexus between the secondary and the primary colors. So now let's do the same thing for our violence. I have my violet mix here going to divide it into, and I'm going to add my cool red to one side. I'm going to place it towards the red here. I think I can add a bit more correct. To be honest, miss, just a bit. So this is going to be my bride, Violet. Just gonna mix up but more of my violet. So there's my violet. And to this mix, I'm going to add my the wrong color. I'm going to add my warm blue, So to make it the blue violet and there will place it to this side. Just a bit more bread, maybe just a teeny bit more red. Just It depends on how blue you want it. So that's why I'm calling it too unique color wheel because it depends on how you see colors. So this is my blue violet. Next, we moved to our greens and with the greens will do the same thing. So I have my green here just except a bit more green. So here's my green. And now I'm going to divide it into you again. and I'm going to add my cool yellow to one side and make it the yellow green. I'll place it here towards the I think even more yellow. Maybe I will place it towards my yellow. Here we go. And now we'll mix my cool blue into the other mix here. So this is going to create beautiful teal color and that will please it here. This is my cool green. Now, as you can see, we have a full color wheel with 123456 primaries and secondaries, and we have six tertiary colors to it. So we have a version off. Ah, cool and the warm of each color on it. Now that's most of the next lesson where we will be discussing how to mix blacks and browns . 5. Mixing Blacks: Now that our goal, a real is full, we can mix our blacks and browns. To do that, we will start with our blacks. I think so to mix the black. What I do is I take all of my crime married and mix them together. So that's creates the neutral color. It neutralizes all of them. So here I have, um, a cool in the warm version of each color. So I will create two blacks. I will create a cooler black and a warmer black. So to do that first, I will clean up my palate just so that I don't have a paint mixing too much and creating mud. Okay, that's enough. Okay, So I will select the warm versions for my warm black of each color. So I'll take my cadmium yellow my can you red light? We're medium. I remember now, okay? And I'm taking my warm blue as well the ultra Marie. So you can see it creates a beautiful brown. Now, as I'm adding my ultra marine to it and I keep on adding until I get my black, this is getting already towards the black. So this is going to be my warmer black, and I will show you the difference. Now between the cool black just a bit more ultra Marine so and I will place it on the warm side of my color wheel because you can see this is my black critics has paint here. So, of course, you can have versions of this black. You can go and add more blue to it, and it's going to become cooler where you can have more yellows and reds and is becoming warmer. But I will show you how to next year cooler black from our cool colors. So I'm taking my cool yellow cool blue and cool red to mix my other black and you will see the difference. Now they do look different. I'm taking my cool yellow, my cool blue and cool red. So mixing it up and you'll see that it's already a cooler version. Uh, the black that we got just using this primary colors. I think it's a bit too bluestone. Okay, too much yellow in there and but more blue now. So you need to create these mixes to see exactly the color that you want. Okay, So quite happy with that. She's going to be my other black. I'm going to place it on the cool side of the wheels. You see, it's also a black color, but it's a lot cooler than the other one that we created. So these air to blacks. So what I do for my Browns is we're just going up my pilot. So for my Browns, I will be mixing my primary colors with my secondary colors that are opposite them on the color wheel. Oh, speaking about blacks. If you use blacks that you mixed yourself, they're going to look a lot more vibrant. They're going to look a lot more colorful. Even though they're blacks, you still will be able to perceive some sort of color in them compared to the flat blacks that you have already in your color palette. In the water Court pilot, for example, I have my black here. This is another black that I didn't premix. I'll just show you. I'll just place it here so you can see the difference. But doing the blacks. So this is the black that was in my color palette, so you can see that it looks quite different to the ones that we did so basically, I often use my blacks combined. That means that I do not use just one shade of black. I use this as my let's say, neutral black, and then I use my cool on my warm blacks. Teoh give a bit of depth to what I'm painting, so that's a cool trick. How you cannot dimension to your paintings as well. I'm not saying that you shouldn't use your black black. I'm just saying that you should. You use it combined with the ones that you mix yourself to give it a bit of paint splatter here to give your paintings a bit more dimension. 6. Browns from blues and orange: Okay, so now we were talking about the Browns and to mix the Browns. As I said, we're going to be mixing our primary color without were secondary color. And that would be mixing two versions of Brown's, um, for each warm and cool color. So first I take my warm blue, but I'm going to create a well here, my or in blue. And then we'll start adding my orange. I need to premix my orange now. So remember that I made orange with my cadmium red and with my cadmium yellow take my cadmium yellow and I have my cadmium red to to create that orange So now I will start mixing my brown So this is going to be my first Brown, uh, on the warm side quite happy with that. And I'm going to place it in the middle here. So this is my first Brown. No, What I'm going to do is I'm going to defy this into again, and I'm going to make some more blue to it and see what color that gives me and place it closer to my blue, and you can see the difference between the shades of these browns and here I'm going to go into the other nicks. I'm going to add more orange so much create a bit more orange here on the side. Oh, the wrong one. What's up with me? It's splashing water today, so creating my orange from my cadmium cadmium yellow and my red can be, um, my orange and I mix it in with this brown to give it the warmer feel. So this is going to be our neutral brown cool brown and a warm brown here, so this resembles a bit yellow occurred to me to be honest. Okay, so this is one of our Brown's. Now let's do the same thing for our second Blue, that cool version of our blue. So I'm cleaning up my palate. It doesn't have to be perfectly clean. It's fine like that. And I'm taking my blue again, So placing it here, this is going to be my blue and I'm gonna premix my orange again. So making a big well of my orange here get mixing the same as I see them on my color wheel , the warm with the warm my orange. Here, I'm gonna take just 1/2 of this orange and mix it in with the blue. Just a little bit more blue here, Um, I think any more orange Or to be warmer? Yes. So this is the brown color that I'm quite happy with, and I'm going to place it again here in between the two between my cool blue and my orange so you can see it's quite different from this one. Now I'm going to do the same thing as I did with the previous mix, and I'm going to have more blues to it created a lot darker, So this is the allure Brown and I'll do the same thing and Maxim more orange to it. Greet a warmer kind of brown thistle, too. And this is my warm brown not quite happy with that, so you can see the difference. Visually, you can see the difference between all of them, and we're going to repeat the same thing for reds and greens and for yellows and purples. So I will see you in the next lesson where we will be dealing with reds and greens 7. Browns from reds and green: So we're back to mixing our reds and greens for this. I'm going to Premix a bit of my green so I can divide it into because we will be mixing it with my warm and cool red and my blue. Okay, so I think this green is quite good. This creature, what would a drug here quite happy with my green? I'm going to defy that, didn't you? I think like that. So the first thing I will do is I will have my warm red to my green, my brush and pick up my one red. I'll create this brown so you can see that it's a nice, very nice brown. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to place it here in the middle, is fitted with our blues and oranges. And so quit the nice brown. Then I'm going to mix more green into it, gonna make it cooler and creates a nice all of color. Almost so I quite like it. So this way you can see with colors you can actually get from your color palette, and I'm gonna add a bit more warm bread to it to create our warmer ground. Just more water and here we go. This is our warmer broom. Now we do the same thing on the other side of our were greeting that we premixed we're going to add our cool red to clean it out of my losing their can. Put it here. So this is my cool red, and I'm going to mix it, start mixing it with my green with a nice brown color, and I'm gonna place it on this side. Now I'm gonna job more, read into it, and I put it closer here. And then I'm going to have more green into it and place it over here so you can see the difference between all of these browns. This was kind of a bit on the read side. Think I would make it a bit more greenish, but it's OK, Pass over it, but just add a bit more green then. So these are our brown's from red to green. We will do the same thing now with our brown's from yellow to purple just going to clean up my pilot 8. Browns from yellows and violet: Here we go. And now I'm going to mix up my purples. And for that, I'm using my warm red by warm blue and my cool red. This is a nice Burkle. It's gonna have a bit more water to it. It's a very nice purple. So I'm actually gonna put it here because I mean that the But to read this purple like it particularly this is my perfect cleanest purple. I think I'm gonna divide it into, and I'm going to start adding my yellows to it. First, I will start with my cadmium yellow, and they'll take just a bit and makes it in and see how it works together. So this is my around gets neutralized, and I will place it here. Okay, so now I'm gonna have more purple into it. I place it closer towards my purple, so it creates kind of a grayish, you hear, and then have allowed more yellow into it and see how it behaves. This creates a nice brown here. No place is closer to my yellow. Okay, Next I'm going to do the same thing, is going to clean up this next year. I'm going to do the same thing with my cool yellow to give it to my cool yellow and mix it in with my purple through. This creates a nice gray. Now I'm going to hurt more purple into it like that. Now it plays there, keeping more. That's another huge for purple. And then I'm gonna have mind yellow into it. Okay, I think it's more. That's really good. So now you can see that by using only sex colors, we created a full color wheel, and now I will show you in the next lesson how different the colors look if you mix outside the triangles and sometimes actually creating what is good because you can use it for shadows. But yes, I'll see you in the next lesson. 9. Mixing out of the triangle and extended color palettes: So now that we have our color wheel, I wanted to show you how our secondary colors, for example, would look like if we were to use colors that outside the triangle. So for my first orange, I think I'm going to use my cool red and a cool yellow. I would see how that looks, so I'm mixing my cool yellow with my cool red. So, as you see already, it doesn't have the vibrancy off our orange that we created with our warm yellow and warm red. So I'm going to please it here so you can see the difference so you can see that it's completely different. And if we had a bit more, you know, do it. It's still not going to liven it up. So it's a lot duller than this orange, and it doesn't look as transparent. So what? We talk about mixing mud. It's when there is the over mixing of pigments in the mix of the colors that we create. And basically, the weight of the paper doesn't manage to shine through as well. It just looks very dull. Let's do the same thing. Just another example off greens. If I mix my let's say warm blue with my warm yellow See? What's that gonna do? Makes him I wouldn't blue with my warm yellow and this gives me a nice color Actually, like this color, it's a nice all of color like but again, it's nowhere as vibrant is this one. So what I would suggest you do next ISS create extended color palettes, but I mean by that is try to mix all of your six colors one with the other so I would mix all of my colors with my warm yellow or all of my colors with my yellow cool yellow. I will show you an example of my extended, uh, color palettes. So this is what I would call an extended color palette. But in this version, I mixed my cab me in lemon with old other colors that I had in my set These air this and now this is the white Nights. But I next it together with all my 12 white nights and then I mix it together with all my sin Alya 24 colors. So what I would do is take my red, place it on the first square and a bit of blue. Place it in the next square, have another bit of blue more. Place it in. The next one has a bit more blue. Place it in the next one and then I just out of the blue, leave it to the next one. So this is the gradual change of color. This is the glad, gradual change of color from my cool read into my warm blue, and I could see all the colors in between. You can split it into as many colors as many steps as you like. Um, I usually do five. So for my one color to my other colors and then three in the middle, where you could do five in the middle, and it actually helps you learn what colors you have and because of you. Uh, if you start with limited palate, it's not going to be such a huge task to do to test out all your colors because this way, you will be able to see what your colors can mix into 10. Your project: So our color wheels ready. And these are the main principles of how to mix watercolors that actually shine. Um, I hope that this lesson was useful for you. And I would love to see your color wheels in your project section. Or, if you have any questions, do you ask them in the discussion section l will be happy to answer them. I'll be seeing you in my other watercolor classes. I hope you did enjoy this lesson. And yes, if you did, please leave a thumbs up or review. I would appreciate that. And that's a free now I