Confused about color? FREE watercolor conversion chart with mixing tips!

Hi friends!  I had a question from a viewer last week about substituting color in watercolor paintings. Sometimes you may be following along with a tutorial and you don’t have the color the teacher is using, usually I will mention substitutions but it sure would be handy to have a reference chart to give out. So armed with my huge watercolor swatch book I compiled a list of substitutions based on color hue, tinting strength and undertones and put it in an easy to print reference. There are also some mixing tips and I put my 9 must have colors (in my opinion) in bold in case anyone was interested:) You can download my free watercolor conversion chart with mixing tips here. This color conversion chart will also work with other wet media:)

Here is a video with more info on using the guide and color theory with color examples.

Below are a couple of recommendations for paint sets to get you started if you are new at various price points.

  • Daniel Smith Essential Into set of 6 tubes
    *This contains a warm and cool of each primary for $31 The quality is excellent and I use this set in my Essential tools and techniques for Watercolor online course. I also recommend having a Yellow Ocher, Sap Green and Burnt Sienna paint for watercolor (Add a titanium white if using acrylic, oil or gouache colors.)
  • Schminke 12 half pan set $57 at Jacksons. *This is the artist quality version of the 12 pan set I demoed with, excellent paint and it is all you will need to mix just about anything color wise. *Sometimes we pick colors like cobalt teal for instance for their granulating capabilities, texture or opacity/transparency but that is more high level painting stuff. Learn color theory basics first:) Remember the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!
  • For $30 you can get this 30 color set of Shinhan which is lovely, not quite as high quality of Daniel smith or Schminke, but good for a beginner. *This will contain all the colors you need and then some but some of the names are off so you will need to trust your instincts and swatch them. The preform well though and the tubes are lager making for a lot of material to play with without the fear of wasting paint. I question the light-fastness of some colors but for learning it will suit you well.
  • I also really like this “Pretty Excellent” 36 budget pan set for $20, again the names are dodgy but the paint is great if you want to play.

Need more help on your watercolor journey?

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Want in-depth watercolor lessons containing all of the information and tutorials you need to start your watercolor journey off right? Check out my Essential Tools and Techniques for Watercolor course! With 6 hours of step by step instruction I will take you from how to hold a brush to perfect washes and color mixing then guide you through four finished paintings. Click here to learn more or enroll today!

Oh! I almost forgot! We will have a live stream tomorrow at 1pm Eastern Time, Sarah will be in the studio too so if you have missed us please stop by and say hi! Till then happy crafting!

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A round watercolor painting in a vintage color palette!

Edited to add the final painting from today’s live stream. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Hi friends! Today we will compost a round painting design. It is a fun new way to approach your painting which is very helpful if you are ever stuck in a rut! We will also discover how to make a vintage color palette that harkens back to the Victorian era.

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We will be exploring tints (adding white) and shades (adding black) to create the muted tones of vintage postcard art. Modern watercolors are so crisp and vibrant and normally I love that but the muted vintage tones of yesteryear are also lovely. I have seen a few vintage and pastel specialty palettes for sale lately and while they are lovely and fun their use is very limited. The colors in the those palettes contain lots of white and some black to desaturate the colors. If you already have your basic watercolors a tube or pan of black and white (you probably have them from sets) will accomplish this task in a flash! A tint is when you add white to a color and a shade is when you add black.

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By now you are probably asking “Lindsay, why don’t you just add water to lighten and add the complimentary color to darken these colors?” Great question! I usually recommend this method because it keep out colors clean and bright but when going for the vintage look we want to tone down the chroma more and also give the color a bit more body. Confused? Well tune in to YouTube today at 12:30pm ET and have all of your questions answered! The replay will also be available in the player below if you can’t make it!

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! http://www.jerrysartarama.com/ Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

  • Lukas watercolors: Lukas red, cadmium yellow, green-gold, prussian blue, ultramarine, mauve, black and white (any brand and colors near to these will work)
  • Watercolor paper *cut your paper round (I will go 12″ round) or you can get round watercolor here. I placed a dinner plate upside down on my watercolor paper and scored along the edge of the plate with a craft knife and then held the plate in place as I tore my paper against it and it worked great! The score mark helped the paper tear where I wanted it to.
  • Brushes: Mimik faux squirrel *I recommend the value set
  • Pattern to trace
  • Inspiration art (above) from this book of copyright free images (included a CD of images as well as a book of them.) This book is from the Memories of a Lifetime book series and I have found these to be an invaluable reference book series over the years. I used the book for painting inspirations and also for collage and paper crafting projects. I think they are out of print but Amazon has some used copies at reasonable prices.

I have missed my live show peeps so much over the past 2 weeks! We are having our first real snowstorm of the season with all the kids schools cancelled so you may here an errant noise here and there but that is all part of the frugalcrafter experience LOL! See you at 12:30pm ET on YouTube and til then happy crafting!

Confused by Color mixing? Let’s make a color wheel!

Hi friends! I get asked about color theory a lot so today I decided to show you how I mix colors and tell you what 6 colors I recommend for watercolor but it can be applies to any paint medium. I also recommend white if painting in acrylics or oils.

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I even have a free printable handy-dandy checklist of supplies for watercolor here. Now, watch the video to see the color mixing magic happen!

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Trust me, play with your paint and start mixing. Watching a video is good but you will learn by doing. Your color may have different names or maybe your color are in pans and you do not have the names BUT you do have eyeballs so simply look at them and see what the undertones are in your primarys.

Red
Warm: Cadmium Red, Scarlet, Vermilion (any red that looks more orange than purple)
Cool: Alizarin Crimson, Quin. Magenta, Red Rose Deep (a red more purple than orange)

Blue
Cool: Pthalo, Prussian, Turquoise (A blue more green than purple)
Warm: Ultramarine, Cobalt (a blue more purple than green)

Yellow
Cool: Lemon (a yellow more green than orange)
Warm: Gamboge, Cad Yellow, Indian Yellow (A yellow closer to orange than green)

Once you can spot the colors undertones you will know what paint to pick for mixing the color you want.

I also like Sap Green, Yellow Ocher and Burnt Sienna because I use a lot of these colors and it would take a lot of time to mix these (although you totally can) on every painting. Play with the paint, it is the best way to learn. My dad always said the best way to learn how to build a house is to build a house. It’s the same with painting (and he was a contractor and I am an artist so you can totally trust what we say!)

I hope are less confused about color now. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Basic Color Mixing & Brush Use in today’s Video (learn to paint a sunset!)

Hi friends! Sorry I did not have  a post for you yesterday, I was completely wiped out after a day at the Made in Maine Expo. I shared some pics during the day on the Facebook page if you are curious. I was a great show and a lot of fun. I have to say that I am a bit sore from lugging product up and down stairs (cutting boards are heavy!) But all-in-all it was a good time, and I left with less than I brought. I will have a recap later this week and tips for selling at a higher-end craft fair in case you were considering it! Tonight I am going to do something many of you have requested. I am going to go back to basics and we are going to mix 3 colors to make all the colors we need for a painting, we will talk a bit about color theory and I will also show you my two most used kinds of brushes and show you why I like them so you can pick the best brushes for the job. Watch the video for all the tips! Before you ask: I am working in my Canson Mixed Media Journal and the plastic palette is the Jones palette and I have had it for 15 years but it is still available at many retailers (Jerry’s Artarama has it for about $20) the brushes I am using are by Royal & Langnickle, I like the Majestic and the Aqualon lines and you can find them at many retailers.

OK, on to the video!

I hope you try this one even if you don’t think you can paint. You can even use children’s watercolors (Prang is really good actually and you can grab those anywhere!) The most important thing is that you try. You will learn so much about color mixing just by experimenting with the paint. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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