Learn how to mix orange watercolor paint. Everyone knows that red plus yellow equals orange, but there’s a bit more to color mixing than that.
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I’m using watercolors in this demo, but these mixing properties apply to all paint types.
Orange is admittedly one of the easier colors to mix. Since it is made from two warm colors (red and yellow), the results are more pleasing.
I used Cotman watercolor tubes to make a budget-friendly mixing palette, but I really love the Daniel Smith mixing set too.
Here are the colors I used:
- Cadmium Red Hue (warm)
- Gamboge Hue (warm)
- Permanent Rose (cool)
- Lemon Yellow (cool)
- *Ultramarine (warm)
- *Cerulean Blue Hue (cool)
The blue shades aren’t necessary for mixing oranges, but I’ve included them in case you want a whole mixing palette.
Color Theory Basics
As I mentioned, red and yellow are both warm colors, but each shade can still lean warm or cool. Pinkish reds (like magentas) lean to the cool side, whereas warm reds (cadmiums) lean to the warm side.
The same can be seen in yellow paints. Some yellows lean more to the cool side (lemon yellow) and some lean more to the warm side (gamboge.)
Blue sits opposite the color wheel, so it can be used to tone oranges down if necessary.
You might be interested in learning more about color theory.
Mixing Orange Watercolor Paint
Mixing reds with a warm yellow results in a brighter color mixture.
Warm red + warm yellow results in the cleanest, warmest red.
Cool red + cool yellow result in the weakest mixture.
If you’re still getting muddy mixtures, check your paint label. Single pigment paints mix the cleanest. If you paint lists several pigments, chances are high that those pigments are fighting each other.
How to Make Pastel Orange or Peach Tones
To make a lighter orange, use more water in your mixture.
I really enjoy using other colors to make special mixtures. Peach is one of my favorite colors to mix using these special mixtures.
How to Make Browner Oranges
Since blue is the complementary color of orange, try mixing blues or purples with the mixture to tone it down a bit. You can also try mixing brown with orange tones like raw sienna.
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