Colors in watercolor

Watercolor is a physical medium, so the primary colors are red, blue and yellow.

However, these can be broken down into warm and cool hues This is important because it affects color mixing. The TL;DR of this is:

Ultramarine Blue + Permanent Rose; New Gamboge + Cadmium Scarlet; Winsor Yellow + Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)
Primary mixes of colors with matching subtones

Note: Some colors are more on the neutral side, like Cobalt Blue or Winsor Yellow.


Warm reds have a yellow subtone, and are good to mix oranges. Some warm red colors include:

Cool reds have a blue subtone, and we can use them to mix purples. A few cool reds are:


Warm yellows have a red subtone, and mix beautiful oranges. Warm yellow examples:

Cool yellows have a blue subtone and they are good for mixing greens. Cool yellows include:


Warm blues have a red subtone and are good for purples. Some warm blue colors:

Cool blues have a yellow subtone and we can mix greens with them. Cool blues include:

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