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Understanding Colour Bias: Why It Matters in Art

When it comes to creating vibrant artworks, understanding colour bias is crucial. Colour bias refers to the tendency of a colour to lean towards a particular hue. This seemingly subtle aspect can significantly influence the outcome of your mixes and the overall harmony of your palette. Let’s dive into what colour bias is and why it matters, using some common colours and ones that I use often as examples.

The Basics of Colour Bias

Colour bias is the slight leaning of a colour towards another hue (hue also meaning colour). This bias can affect how colours mix together, producing results that may be unexpected if you don’t understand their underlying tendencies.

Ultramarine Blue vs. Phthalo Blue

  • Ultramarine Blue: This colour leans towards violet, making it an excellent choice for mixing rich purples and deeper blues.
  • Phthalo Blue (Green Shade): This blue leans towards green, making it ideal for mixing vibrant greens and turquoise shades.

Understanding these biases can help you choose the right blue for your desired outcome. For instance, using Ultramarine Blue instead of Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) can drastically change the nature of your mixed greens or purples.

Cadmium Red vs. Alizarin Crimson

  • Cadmium Red: This red leans towards orange, making it perfect for creating warm, fiery hues.
  • Alizarin Crimson: This red leans towards violet, suitable for creating deeper, cooler reds and purples. However is by no means the ideal choice for making violet.

By recognising these biases, you can predict and control the warmth or coolness of your mixed colours, ensuring the palette remains harmonious.

The Importance of Magenta in Mixing Violets

When it comes to mixing violet, magenta plays a pivotal role. Pure magenta has a bias towards blue, making it the perfect partner for creating vivid violets. Combining magenta with blue (preferably a blue that also has a violet bias, like Ultramarine Blue) will yield the most vibrant and true violets. Without understanding this, as an artist you might end up with dull or muddy purples, especially if you mistakenly use a red with an orange bias.

Getting to Know Your Colours Through Mixing

One of the best ways to understand colour bias is through hands-on experimentation. Simple mixing exercises can reveal the hidden biases in your palette. Here’s a simple exercise:

  1. Primary Mixes: Mix your primary colours (red, blue, yellow) in different combinations to see the range of secondary colours you can create.
  2. Bias Testing: Take a primary colour and mix it with two different secondary colours that it leans towards. For example, mix Ultramarine Blue with both a violet and a green to see how it shifts.
  3. Document Results: Keep a record of your mixes and the results. This will serve as a valuable reference as you continue to work with colours.

Vibrant Visions: Dive Deeper Into Colour Theory

If you found this exploration of colour bias intriguing and want to learn more, I’m excited to announce the upcoming launch of my “Vibrant Visions” programme. In this programme, we will delve deeper into colour theory, exploring advanced mixing techniques, the psychology of colour, and how to create a cohesive palette that brings your artistic visions to life.

Stay tuned for more details on how you can join “Vibrant Visions” and take your understanding of colour to the next level.

Understanding colour bias is not just a technical skill but a gateway to unlocking the full potential of your artistic expression. By mastering this concept, you’ll be able to mix colours more predictably and achieve the vibrant, dynamic results you desire in your artwork.

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