Tinting and Shading Your Colors

Tinting and Shading Your Colors

I've talked many times before in my videos about the importance of contrast in paintings, and how contrast makes paintings pop. One of the most effective ways to create needed contrast is through manipulation of value. Value is the degree of light and dark in a painting. The more contrast between the lights and darks in a painting, the more the painting will pop. Think about the work of Vermeer or Rembrandt.

In order to create a full range of values with your colors you'll need to learn to lighten the value (tinting) or darken the value (shading).

The easiest way to tint a color is by adding white (Titanium or Zinc white) to create a range of lighter value. In the painting example you can see how varying degrees of white paint added to the Cobalt Blue create a full range of light blue value.

When shading a color, there are two main ways to approach it. The first is to add black paint. While this is a good approach, I find it makes the colors look a bit flat. The second approach, and the one I use most often, is to use the complementary color to shade. In the painting example I use both approaches to shading Cobalt Blue. The results are nearly the same, however the addition of orange rather than black creates a richer color with more depth.

The next time you begin a painting, think about creating a wide range of value to make your center of interest pop, and create a high degree of visual impact.

If you'd like to learn how to paint with more contrast, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2018 workshops HERE)

  • June 25-27 Associated Artists of Southport, Southport, NC. To register contact Nancy Schulte: nancyschulte@me.com.
  • July 13-14 Art Alliance of Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. To register contact Liz Busch: artalliancegso@gmail.com.
  • July 27-29 Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Grand Junction, CO. To register contact Haley Van Camp: hvancamp@gjartcenter.org.
  • August 8-10 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here. (Only 1 seat left!)
  • August 23-25 Franciscan Life Process Center, Lowell, MI. For more information and registration Click Here.

As always, thanks so much for your support!


P.S. If you you'd like to learn how to create more contrast in your work from the comfort of your home or studio, Design Fundamentals for the Artist is my online course:

Design Fundamentals for the Artist will provide you with a firm foundation on which to build all of your art making activities. For Information Click Here.

Price Reduced $50 through June!


Design Fundamentals for the Artist EBook. This Ebook is filled with in-depth information on the five major Design Fundamentals of Shape, Value, Color, Edges and Center of Interest. Exact, practical, easy to understand instruction on how to implement each fundamental to make your paintings better than they have ever been.

Available HERE through Amazon for $6.99.