How to Mix Sky Blue Paint

    by Noelle Carver

    About the Author

    Noelle Carver has been a freelance writer since 2009, with work published in "SSYK" and "The Wolf," two U.K. literary journals. Carver holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from American University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The New School. She lives in New York City.


    Decide what kind of sky you like, because “sky blue” can refer to many different shades. Because of air quality, sunlight, and the number of clouds, a blue sky can look different in various regions of the world, or even in the same region on different days. Whether you use acrylic or water colors affects the look of your sky too, but with acrylic paints, you can mix and match colors in a palette to create your hues. To whip up the sky you imagine, pinpoint what qualities you want to see in that sky: light grays, rich blackberry tones, purples notes.

    Things You'll Need

    • Acrylic paint colors: cobalt blue, titanium white, cadmium yellow light, alizarin crimson, ivory black
    • Palette tray (round plastic or metal tray)
    • 2 jars for water
    • Filbert brush
    • Small fan brush (1/2” or medium 3/4”) (optional)
    • Natural sea sponge (optional)
    • Artificial makeup sponge (optional)

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    Mix up a batch of blue. Use cobalt blue, cadmium yellow light, alizarin crimson, and a glob of titanium white. Combine these colors as in bold or light a way as you wish.

    Add more sky-like qualities. Keep your first pile of sky on your palette. Make a second with the same base (cobalt, cadmium, alizarin crimson, and white) and add one brush-full of cobalt blue. Blend it together for a richer alpine sky.

    Cut it. Splice one of the two skies with green. Add a dot of alizarin crimson and a blob of titanium white to reach a "slate-green" state. Or mix in a light black. For this, whip ivory black and titanium white into glossy elephant gray.

    Lift it. Apply some highlights. Knock in some sun with a dollop of cadmium yellow. When you have a sky with your ideal tones and flourishes, dip in your brush and test a canvas or board.

    Feather it. Using your filbert brush (or a flatter fan brush), brush some color onto the canvas. Stroke lightly. Eventually you might add clouds, trees, buildings, and birds. With some leftover titanium white, swish in a cloud or two; it will lift the blue by contrast.

    • Water color paints are beneficial for learning sky blue techniques but acrylics will help you learn the basics of color mixing.
    • For practice, study photographs showing patches of sky. Try to match these tones.