Mixing Colors With Watercolor Variant in Corel Painter 2015

Hello Everyone,

I love mixing colors…traditionally or digitally.  There is something so wonderful about looking at colors as they develop.  I have to admit, I haven’t been completely happy with Corel Painter’s mixer pad.  It does a good job, I’m not saying that, but I have difficulty with it.  I’ve seen others mix lots of colors beautifully with it.  And, there are some who never use it at all.  While making my latest set of watercolor brushes, I noticed that some mixed colors better than the mixer pad.  I started testing and actually went back to the default Watercolor category in Painter 2015 and started using Watery Glazing Flat variant to mix colors directly in the document.  I bet other transparent glazing type variants would work as well, but I haven’t tried them.

The transparent character of watercolor variants allows the paint to mix optically, which is why it is so beautiful in my opinion.  It is possible to mix very vibrant colors, too, but I was going for more subtle combinations of soft colors.  This image is a mix of Phthalo Blue Green, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson.  This one is the most vibrant of the ones that I did today.

Watercolor mix using Phthalo Blue Green, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson

Watercolor mix using Phthalo Blue Green, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson

The next two examples are definitely more subtle and softer.  I love the grayed feel of the colors.  The top three rows are French Ultramarine, Aureolin, and Permanent Carmine.  The last three rows are Phthalo Blue Green, Quinacridone Gold, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson.  I am so attracted to these types of colors.  I know this is a personal thing, but they do seem luscious to me.

Watercolor mixes.  First three rows are French Ultramarine, Aureolin, and Permanent Carmin.  The last three rows are Phthalo Blue Green, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Quinacridone Gold.

Watercolor mixes. First three rows are French Ultramarine, Aureolin, and Permanent Carmin. The last three rows are Phthalo Blue Green, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Quinacridone Gold.

OK…want to know how to do this type of color mixing.  It really is easy. In the first video, I start using Corel Painter’s mixer pad.  It is fine and I get good color, but when I switch to mixing the same colors with a watercolor variant, I get many more choices…and I think better choices.  But, judge for yourself.

In the second video, I mix three colors in one area using the watercolor variant.  Then I sample the colors created.  It is pretty cool.  To alter any color, I can simply add more color to an area.  That is hard to explain.  Watch the video.

In part 3, I again use three colors painted inside of a selection.  But this time, I drop the layer to the canvas layer and add a new white layer with a composite method of overlay.  Doing this, brightens the mixed layer.  Now I let Painter do the work and create a new color set from a selection.  Deciding how many colors is always problematic.  But, I really think 16 is the highest number needed and 8 might be just as good.  What do you think?

As usual, I go off on a tangent in video 4, but I think it is an interesting tangent.  I am still mixing colors using a watercolor variant, but instead of using the traditional concept that the primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow, I use the correct version of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow.  What?  I knew you would say that. I know it is crazy.  I toyed with this concept for several years and it is hard to wrap my head around it.  Basically, old Issac Newton thought the primary colors were Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, but he couldn’t prove it.  I think in the late 1800s or early 1900s, scientist began to tell us that the real primary colors were Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow.  What makes them primary is that they cannot be mixed and a mixture of them produces black, which is the same thing I have thought about Red, Blue, and Yellow.  I am almost used to the idea that Pluto isn’t a planet and now this.  Of course, I thought this was about light, but not pigments.

Hold on, not so fast…did you know that there are paint companies now producing tubes of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow as primary colors.  Not all of course…this change will take some time and a steep learning curve…especially for older dudes like me.  But, I have to admit, I find the concept strangely appealing and very interesting.  And there is something to it.  Take a look at the video and watch me mix blue and red.  Something, I didn’t think could be done.  Now, I haven’t tried this traditionally, but I’m thinking why not.  So, what do you think about Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow as the real primaries?

The next video probably is overkill.  I continue to mix Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, plus the secondary colors of Red, Blue, and Green.  I was curious more than anything else.  I wondered what colors would emerge.  Really, once you get past the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow start, it seems pretty much like the traditional mixing methods.  Actually when all is said and done, color mixing is pretty much intuitive or innate.  But I do find the explorations fun.

I hope you enjoyed the techniques and will give them a try.



Painting Demo with Corel Painter 12 Real Watercolor

Hello Everyone,

I think I have mentioned that I am working on some new brushes for Painter 12 using the Real Watercolor brush engine.  I really love the brushes created with this new engine. The watercolor and digital watercolor categories mixed with the real watercolor category can create a watercolor look and feel.  At this point in the brush making process, I paint with the new brushes; I take them for a spin and kick their tires.  I will do a number of paintings each with a different technique or approach. It is a fun exercise, but not all the paintings are successful.

I created 7 videos that will show you the step by step process of painting with the new Real Watercolors in Painter 12.  This is the first time I have done a project like this; I don’t know if it will bore you to death or be fun to watch.  Just remember, you can always fast forward.  The finished painting looks like this:

Orange Flower

Painted in Corel Painter 12 using Real Watercolor type brushes

I guess we better get started.  Each video is 10 to 15 minutes long, with most being close to 10 minutes.

Whew, that is a bunch of videos.  I hope you enjoy them.  Painter 12 Rocks!!!

Don’t forget to visit Studio|Chris and pick up the MXSMaker.


Bamboo on Silk

Sue made a comment on the last post that the bamboo would look good printed on silk.  It was a timely comment because I had just finished a piece with a background that looks like the piece was printed on silk.   I called this one wind.



Bamboo in the wind


Eastern Water Brushes; What’s the Big Deal

I love watching You Tube videos of sumi-e paintings.  There is something intriguing about the process.  When I found out that Open Studio at Digital Art Academy was going to focus on sumi-e, I was delighted.  I began to practice.

No matter how hard I practiced, the process felt muddled.  Did I just need more practice? Of course, but who has time for practice.  Good brush painters hone their skills for decades; I had a matter of weeks.  Surely (tongue in cheek) with the right brush I could be a Master in less than a few days.  I knew it was impossible, but what else is a hardhead good for, if not for banging it against an impossible goal.

Bang one.  What is necessary for a good sumi-e brush? “Kevin?” (Dear reader, I know you do not know Kevin, but if you will bear with me, I’ll make a page explaining all about my computer Kevin, but right now, let’s just chat about the brushes.)

“Many things,” he replied rather too simply.

“Well, duh.  You champion the obvious.  I’m asking for one essential behavior.” Sometimes Kevin can be so obtuse.

“The ability to load the brush tip with one value of a color and the base with a lighter or darker value. But you will never remedy that conundrum.”

“Exactly, a perfect function of the brush.  What? Never remedy? Don’t be rude or I’ll run the CCleaner you hate?

“What we need is the ability to sample multiple colors with one brush, and Painter has that exact function.  It is located in the Mixer Pad.

Sample Multiple=

  1. This is the dropper tool, which will sample a single pixel of color
  2. This is the sample multiple colors dropper.  It will sample a range of colors from a single pixel to 50 pixels.
  3. The slider determines the range of colors.  Currently it is set to sample 24 pixels; slide it all the way to the right and it will sample 50 pixels.”

“Aha…you jest.  Are you telling me that you can eyeball 50 pixels on the screen?  I think not,” he chuckled; well it was more like a giggle.

“No, of course not.  I do a little trial and error to get the right range, but most of the time, I leave it at 50 pixels and change when needed.  Check this out.

Sample Strokes

Sample Brushstrokes with 50 Pixel Range

“The slider is set for 50 pixels and I sampled color from just beyond the tips of each arrow.  You can see the resulting strokes.  Obviously, 50 pixels is not very big; plus, there is a bigger problem.  Not all brushes can use the sample multiple function.

“Artist’s Oils Category variants can use the function, but many, for example, in the Acrylic Category cannot.  The determining factor is the Brush Dab Type, which can be found in the General Palette.”

Kevin coughed, hacked, cleared his throat; he made a noise, “Sputter. Is this the first time you have mentioned this palette?  Will the readers understand what it is?”

“Some, yes; others, no.  But I get your point.  Explain the General Palette.

“Under Window > Brush Control you will find a palette group consisting of a number of palettes relating to brush controls.  The General Palette is first in the list.

Brush controls Group Palette

Brush Controls Group Palette with Emphasis on General Palette

“If one of the following four words is listed in the first drop down menu, then the brush can sample multiple colors from the Mixer Pad: camel, flat, and bristle spray.  The illustration identifies all dab types that can use this function.

“Bang one resolved.  And you said it couldn’t be done.  All I have to do is use Camel, Flat, and Bristle Spray Brush Dab Types.”

“You got lucky.  There are many more obstacles ahead,” he said with a certain amount of glee.  He delights in my struggles.  I wonder if all computers are like that, or if I got the only one.

I promised to give you the Eastern Brushes.  Download them here.

The Eastern Brushes conversation will continue.  In the meantime, you may want to download a free webinar that Karen Bonaker and I did about how to use the Eastern Brushes.  The webinar lasted for an hour and 20 minutes, so the zipped file is around 170 MB.  You can download it at Painter Talk, but you will need to register.  It is a free forum; lots of Painter enthusiasts are members.

April edition of Digital Paint Magazine is available. It is a free subscription.

A few paintings I did in the first week of Open Studio:

Dragon Fly

Dragon Fly and Japanese Magnolia

Orchid in a Tree

Orchid in a Tree

The next image is referred to as a Haiga, a combination of Haiku and ga.

My Haiku:

Parrot tulips bright

Bring spring inside the dwelling

Winter returns grey

A Haiga...Parrot Tulip

Enjoy and see you next post,