Color Mixing Theory

Color mixing theory color wheel

The color wheel it in itself is a very complete theory. Now try using comparing those perfect colors to the paints you purchase at the store. It doesn’t work. Pigments have their own properties and colors that do not make the perfection of the color wheel. In fact, the painted color wheel you purchased in art stores are a mixture of pigments, and if you are viewing the wheel in print form, the colors you see are more than likely using the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. These colors plus black are used in printers. The problem with these colors, is that one, the more you mix colors, the duller the results; and two, printers cannot bring out the subtle nuances of certain pigments such as ultramarine blue which is an intense blue-violet. In the print, the blue-violet resembles more of an indigo.

The ‘pure’ colors you see illustrated in this color wheel painting, are actually two different pigments for each color shown. In other words, it took Cadmium Red Light and Quinacridone Violet to produce that classic red. Similarly, it took three blues to produce that classic blue you see before you.

Artists have struggled with this color mixing problem for eons, which had resulted in hundreds of books on the subject, each with their own variants to make the whole matter difficult to understand.  Why should you trust one artist’s theory over the others? You should go with the concept that produces the best results.

A theory should be easily understood with minimal explanation, and it should just as easily be implemented once instructed. 

Of course every theory and practice has in-depth sciences that could fill volumes, however, the principle of the matter, especially on the user end, the theory and practice should be easy enough for everyone to understand and employ without a having to be a scientist; or in our case, a geologist, chemist and physicist. For example, both the backyard astronomer and the astrophysicist do the same thing – they look at the stars. The difference between the two is that one can point out the constellations and planets, while the other knows how to do that and can tell you the exact coordinates of Mars in relativity to a particular asterism at any given moment. Sometimes just knowing how to point out the various constellations is all one has to do to understand astronomy – and be called an astronomer. And that is what this class does, gives you a solid understanding to the application of the paint, so that you can enjoy being an artist.