Painting Tips for Creating Bright Blue With Oils

Written by leslie rose
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Painting Tips for Creating Bright Blue With Oils
Bright blue can sometimes be acheived by mixing a dark blue with white. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Oil paint is a slow-drying medium made from linseed oil and pigments. Oil paints are a traditional medium used for painting subjects like landscapes, portraits and abstract pieces. Unlike acrylic paints, which are available in a wide range of colours from dull and earthy to almost neon, oil paints tend to be limited in their scope; to achieve the brightest colours, oils must be mixed.

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What Paints to Start With

Begin with the brightest blue paint possible. Oil paints do not traditionally come in very bright colours -- there are no neon oil paints -- so you may not be able to find a colour as bright or bold as the one you want. As blue is a primary colour, however, it cannot be created from other paints, so you'll need to start with a shade of blue and try to make it brighter. Hues like French Aquamarine, Thalo blue, Cerulean blue and Cobalt blue are all vibrant options. Many painters are loyal to one or two particular shades of blue; try them all, and find which ones work best for you.

Mix Other Bright and Cool Colors

By mixing your blue oil paint with other bright, cool colours, you can create radiant shades of blue that stand out in attractive ways. Blue and purple combine to create a indigo, appropriate for many tropical flowers. Blue and green mix together to create turquoise, appropriate for the bright blue of Caribbean waters. In order to avoid wasting a lot of paint when mixing colours, thin your paints with turpentine or another traditional oil paint thinner. This will allow you to work with less paint as you try to find the right combination of colours.

Mix White Paint With Blue

Many blue oil paints seem very dark when squeezed straight from the tube. In order to make the paint brighter and lighter, gradually mix white with the blue paint until it is exactly the right shade. If you make the blue paint too light, add blue back into the mixture. Again, thin your paints with turpentine when experimenting with mixing in order to get the most life out of your paints.

Allow Paint to Dry First before Adding Other Colors to Canvas

Because of their slow drying time, oil paints can easily become muddied on the canvas as the artist works. To keep the blue on the canvas bright and pure, avoid painting anything on top of your patches of blue colour. If you paint on top of the blue, or allow other colours to touch the blue paint before it has dried, the blue will become less pure and bright.

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