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I haven’t paid much attention to colour theory or mixing, preferring to muddle my way through and recognise the right colour when I see it. However I have been getting frustrated trying to mix a nice juicy orange colour, and secondly my skinner blends from red to yellow have been disappointingly devoid of orange. So Carol Simmons’ post about Orange had several eureka moments for me:

Firstly how to get an even skinner blend by NOT using a triangle. And the second point is that yellow is slightly transparent. She is talking about Premo zinc yellow, but I have discovered the same applies to Fimo yellow.

2010 Easter Egg

2010 Easter Egg by C van Alphen

I made this Easter egg in 2010, the cane was made only from yellow, white and blends of yellow and white. The transparency of the yellow finally explained why the areas of pure yellow appear to be a slightly different shade, and somehow sunken into the surface of the pattern.

Green mix plaquing

Plaquing visible in green clay mixed with high yellow content

Knowing what I was looking for I could even see the plaquing (circles that occur in transparent polymer clay once baked) in colour tiles where the mix had a large proportion of yellow.

Three shades of yellow

Three baked colour tiles of yellow. The top one does not include white.

Carol recommends adding 1/8 or 1/16 white to the mix which I have done with the lower two tiles. The one on the left has 6% white (just under 1/16) and the one on the right has 12% white (1/8 rounded down). There is not a big difference between these two, but the tile at the top (which is pure yellow) is almost discoloured and seems insipid in comparison. There is also plaquing in the top tile but this is not so visible in the scan.

So now that I am able to give my yellow more mojo by including white, I have mixed my oranges again. The two tiles below have the same amount of red (10%) but the one on the right includes a small amount of white. I am amazed that although the one on the right actually contains less yellow (since it is part white), the hue appears more yellow. And it finally looks more like what I was after.

Two shades of orange

Two shades of orange with the same amount of red, but one with white.