Colors, or Hue which is actually the term used to name colors, are broken down into several categories. The very first ones you want to start with, are the Primary Colors.
There are three of them:
- BLUE, and
They are called Primary colors, because they cannot be made from any combination of colors or pigments
Mixing any two primary colors together will give you Secondary Colors.
Just out of curiosity, you could try mixing all three primary colors and see what you get.
As I mentioned in the introduction, brands differ even though they appear to be similar. You can find a great deal of pigment information on the tubes, but if you are like me, you should probably bring a magnifying glass with you shopping for paints, so you can read the information.
Better yet, go on the internet and lookup the color and find the pigment make up.
Dick Blick shows pigment information for the products it sells. For example, Golden Open Acrylic Napthol Red Medium is made up of PR5-Naphthol Red, and is described as a “bright deep red with bluish undertones” but “it fades in tints”.
When I looked at Holbein acrylics, they had a Naphthol Red which was called “Chapel Rose.” Its pigment was PR146-Naphthol Red but was described as having “fair permanence and always fades in tints.” This also had bluish undertones.
On the other sides of the reds are the cadmiums which tend to have more yellow in them giving them a more orange undertone.
In summary than, you have to check the colors you have on your artist paint palette as your primaries. Find out their pigment.
Then, you need to mix any two of the primary colors you have available and see what you get. If you have several of each color, try different combinations to see what you get as secondary colors. Paints with more blue in them will give you cooler secondary colors. Those with more red or yellow in them, will give you warmer colors.
Here are some color samples I made. It is difficult to see the difference on some of then on the computer, but It will help give you an idea. Hover over the sample to see the colors that were used.
Each brand of paints have a different name for their colors. What one calls red may actually be a red with a hint of yellow in it, while another may have a hint of blue in it. You can find quite a bit of information on most tubes of paint that will help you identify the color. If you are like me, however, be sure to bring a magnifying glass with you so you can read the information. The websites of each manufacturer also usually have complete charts of color to help you identify them.