How do I avoid the mud?

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  • #509623
    Bryan MccabeBryan Mccabe
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    Are there certain colors I should avoid mixing altogether? Is there a secret formula to avoid getting mud? Which colors can be mixed together the most? I’m working with oil pastels, but I’m assuming it is pretty similar to other mediums in terms of color mixing. Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Bryan.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Bryan MccabeBryan Mccabe.
    #520008
    Gerard Toonstra
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    Separate your colors into “shadows”, “midtones” and “lights” (value wise) and use different brushes for each type. When you have used a brush for the shadows with a heavy umber or blue color and then using it for the lights will tone it down very quickly and mudden the saturation of the very subtle color you had in the lights in the first place. You can then further separate brushes by hue (red, yellow, blue).  The color you should protect and isolate most is yellow, because that’s the most sensitive (the spectral presence of yellow is very small and so it’s very easy to pull it to either red or blue).

    I don’t know that much about oil pastels, but when I do my painting I’m also not using the brush cleaner each and every time I put color on. The brush cleaner (in my case a jar of mineral spirits) contains a solvent plus all the colors combined, so it would definitely muddy out the colors for every brush I put in it. I like to separate my brushes as above, sometimes split them out a bit more by hue and then at intervals clean them with a bar of painter’s soap inbetween when I move to a different section of the painting.

    General idea: look for moments in your workflow where you this muddying happens in the shadows with midtones and highlights or the hues. Then introduce methods to separate between the values and hues in those stages by intermediate (proper) cleaning or adopting a different workflow to how you achieve the overall goal.

    #520069
    Bryan MccabeBryan Mccabe
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    Thank you Gerard. Excellent advice. I think most of it will apply to oil pastels if I treat each pastel stick as a separate “brush”and don’t let the light colors mix with the dark. I know I can also wipe off the tips of each of the pastels with a paper towel.

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