How to mix pink & purple paint with acrylics (video)

by Will Kemp

in colour theory

Mixing red and white acrylic paint

It seems straightforward.

Red and white make pink. Simple.

However, a quick look at the undertone of a few red paints can show you how mixing the perfect pink can easily allude you.

A cadmium won’t allow you to make a hot pink, this video will show you how.

This is not due to a lack of mixing ability, just the wrong paint color for the desired result.

Mixing a bright purple

The right choice of red will influence your ability to make a bright purple and Part 2 of this video (at the end of this post) will show you how easily purple can go muted and grey rather than bright and vibrant.

This is due to the ‘muting down‘ effect of complementary colours.

It’s all to do with the colour bias of the pigment that are hidden in paints…

Video transcript

Morning class, I’m Will Kemp from Will Kemp Art School and today I’m going to show you how to mix the perfect pink with the perfect pigments,

I’m also going to show you how to make the perfect purple using those reds..okay, lets get started!

So here we’ve got a selection of reds you’ll most usually come across:

  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Quinacridone red

Pro tip: In artist quality the cadmium red is very expensive it’s a Seris 9 because the raw ingredients of cadmium are very expensive.

So lets lay them out and have a look what happens in their raw state, and then when we add white.

So here we’ve got the cadmium red light, permanent alizarin crimson, alizarin crimson, quinacridone red (I also add cadmium red medium)

This is the lighter one (cadmium red light) it goes slightly more orange than the plain cadmium red.

You see how this (cadmium red light) goes very very salmon colour when you start to add white to it rather than a bright, vibrant pinky pink.

This is a cadmium red medium.

With this alizarin crimson permanent you don’t expect it to go this pink having such a dark masstone.

Compared to this red (cadmium red light) you think “oh this is going to go a really really bright pink” but suddenly this one has gone a lot pinker.

This one (alizarin crimson) starts to go more towards purple, especially if you look at in comparison to that cadmium red.

Okay, look at this bad boy.

This is super bright pink (quinacridone red)

So you can easily start to see how when you add white to a colour it always brings out the pinkness, or always goes towards blue.

Because the cadmium red has an orange bias to it, when you add the white which will go towards blue it kinda tones it down a bit.

This is a lot more muted whereas this one the quinacridone is really quite clean still.

So to try and get a bright purple you’ve just got to look at these with white and see okay, which is the closest one. This one is going to make a really bright purple.

So lets have a look when we mix them with a blue.

How to mix a bright purple

In this video I explain how to mix a bright purple with acrylic paint, the same principles apply with oil paint.

Colours used are:

Ultramarine Blue & Phthalo Blue (Green) both from Golden Acrylics

The reds are:

  • Cadmium red light (Golden Acrylics)
  • Permanent alizarin crimson (Winsor & Newton)
  • Alizarin Crimson (Hue) – Golden Acrylics
  • Quinacridone red (Golden fluid acrylic)

Cobalt violet (hue) premixed purple.

Pro Tip: If you are experimenting with a limited palette a  good complementary colour for this is cadmium yellow light, they make some lovely tones mixed together, alot nicer than you actually think they would be.

If you understand the basics of colour bias then you could skip to 1 minute into the video where I start mixing the purples.

Before that I briefly explain the colour bias of the two blues.


1. Golden Acrylic paints
2. Winsor & Newton Artists’ Acrylic
3. Will Kemp Art School acrylic painting techniques You tube channel


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