Muddying up paintings

24 Feb 2009

Q: Please explain the expression “to muddy up” one’s painting. How do I prevent this from occurring?

A: “Muddying up” one’s painting usually means adding too many neutral colors—such as grays and browns—to the painting. I would suggest referring to a color wheel when you are painting. When complementary colors are painted side by side, they generally tend to enhance each other. Mixing two complementary colors, on the other hand, will create a muddy, neutral color. If you use neutral colors appropriately throughout your painting, you won’t have problems with “muddying up” your painting.

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