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How to Mix a Bright Pink with Oil Paints

Updated on March 1, 2013
Notice the bright pink dressing table in this painting by Paula Rego.
Notice the bright pink dressing table in this painting by Paula Rego. | Source

How to Mix Bright Pink with Oil Paint

Bright pink can be a difficult colour to mix if you do not know what you are doing. Many people think that pink is simply a matter of mixing red with white. In reality, if you simply mix poster red with white, you will get a paler version of the poster red. A sort of weak pink. There will be nothing hot or bright about it. The thing that determines how bright a colour looks is the pigment within the oil paint rather than how it is mixed. It is advisable to mix a large batch if you require a olot as it may be a difficult task to get the exact same colour the second time around.

These days, you can pretty much buy any colour of oil paint you can think of ready mixed. However, it is more fun to mix it yourself. Read on for more information on how to mix a bright pink with oil paint.

Things you Will Need

You will need a palette knife and artists oil paints in:

  • Alizarin crimson
  • Cadmium red
  • Flake white
  • Pthalo Blue
  • Oil paint brushes
  • Palette

Notice the bright pinks in this sfumato painting
Notice the bright pinks in this sfumato painting | Source


Different brands of oil paint will often produce slightly different results due to a slight variance in the ingredients used. Differences are often found within different batches of the same brand of paint. This is another reason it is a good idea to mix more than you need to avoid having to attempt to match the colour a second time around.

  • Squeeze small amounts of each of your colours onto the palette surface. Separate them out so that the reds are next to each other, with blue on one side of the reds and white on the other side.
  • Start with the alizarian crimson as your base. Alizarian crimson is a cool red and is more towards the purple end of the colour wheel than to the orange end. Pick some up with your palette knife and place it in the centre of your palette or wherever you plan on storing the pink paint for your session.
  • Clean the knife thoroughly. Use the knife to pick up small amounts of flake white. Start mixing the white with the alizarian crimson. Ensure that the paint is fully mixed and that you properly observe the colour change before moving on. Keep adding white and mixing thoroughly until the colour starts to change to pink.
  • The pink may not be bright enough. If this is the case, start to add tiny amounts of cadmium red. Cadmium red is biased toward yellow and will warm the colour up, brightening it.
  • To deepen the pink, add a very tiny amount, a pin prick amount of pthalo blue. This blue is very dark, so only tiny amounts are necessary to make a big difference.
  • Try mixing different batches, varying the amount of alizarian crimson, cadmium red, white and pthalo blue used each time.
  • Try mixing a batch where you mix large equal amounts of alizarian crimson and cadmium red first. This is your base colour. Then slowly start adding the flake white and finally, a tiny amount of pthalo blue if necessary.
  • Compare your different batches to see which one more closely resembles the bright pink you seek. If you have a sample, compare the colours by holding the mixed pink against your sample. Bear in mind that the mixed pink on the palette or your brush will in all likelihood look different once dry.


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