Color Mixing Boards

color mixing board and tools with raw umber
My Raw Umber color mixing board in progress. I'll be making a board for each color of the Paxton Palette.
The idea is have a dominant color for each board. When mixing, the goal is to change the main color just enough so you can tell what color was mixed with it, but not so much that you can't tell what the dominant color is anymore.
The glove is Nitrile not Latex. Nitrile is supposed to be better rated for dealing with solvents. I use odorless mineral spirits to clean up my palette and tools.

Based off Richard Schmid's boards as he describes them in his book "Alla Prima Everything I Know About Painting", I'm creating color boards using the Paxton Palette. (We use the Paxton Palette at The Atelier).

  • Ivory Black
  • Raw Umber
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Indian Red
  • Light Red
  • Cadmium Red Light (this is a replacement for Vermillion)
  • Cremnitz White or Flake White which both contain lead (I'm using Winsor & Newton Flake White Hue - a combination of Zinc and Titanium)
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Naples Yellow
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Viridian Green
  • Ultramarine Blue (I'm using French Ultramarine Blue)

The board itself is a store bought canvas board covered with a coat of matte medium (ideally to prevent sinking in and dulling of the color and value when the paint finally dries). I've had color theory classes. I've mixed paint. Just not it this methodical way. What I've learned so far:

  • Raw Umber is an underrated color. It makes such beautiful low chroma colors.
  • I've been limiting myself in my color mixing and usage. This was completely unintentional. I think the limitations developed though getting comfortable with certain mixes and my own aesthetic. This color mixing is shaking that up.
  • Each color has a tipping point. It's that point where I finally have added enough white to see a difference. Or that point where I've added enough of one color to alter another.
  • The more I do, the faster I get. I'm hoping this is because I'm seeing values better.
  • The mixing exercises can be time consuming but very much worth the effort.