Color Command

There’s more to mastering color than memorizing color recipes and definitions. Like any other expert, you need to do a lot of routine skill-sharpening and a little continuing education, which means fully exploring your paint characteristics to achieve peak performance. Whatever your medium, you can tune up your palette with these tests and exercises.

Transparency
Transparency and opacity are characteristics inherent in the pigments themselves, which may be altered by binders and additives. All artists, no matter what their medium, can learn a lot by testing colors for this important feature. Learn which pigments you can rely on to make beautiful glazes (those would be the more transparent hues) and which have the greatest covering power (the opaque ones). To find out which are which, paint various colors over undiluted strips of India ink.

Mixing It Up
You never know what you’ll get from a combination of colors until you mix them, so pull out one of your favorite colors and mix it with all your others to discover how versatile it really is. Even with just a few ingredients, you’ll be surprised at the range of unique colors that result.

Butch Krieger is a contributing editor to The Artist’s Magazine.

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