ZenART's Membership Plans Terms & Conditions

(Updates effective 17/08/2020)

These terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) govern the ZenART Supplies Rewards & Referral Plan as well as Subscribe & Save Plan (“Membership Plans”), and members of the programs will earn zen coins in connection with the purchase of qualifying online products and online activities that are redeemable towards the purchase of certain products online. For the re-occurring members (Subscribe & Save Plan) this includes exclusive gifts & content.


  • Free. No purchase is necessary to obtain membership in the Rewards & Referral Program, but you must establish an account at https://shop.zenartsupplies.co/account/register . Please see our privacy policy, located here, to understand how information you provide us will be used. This program is void where prohibited.
  • Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rewards & Referral Program, you must create an account as outlined in these Terms and Conditions. You may create an account if you are at least seventeen (17) years of age, have Internet access, and have a valid mailing address. If you are between the ages of 17 and 18, you must have your parent’s permission to register for an account. If you choose to create an account, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account, username and password and for restricting access to your account. You are responsible for keeping such information current, complete, accurate and truthful. You agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account, username and/or password. You agree to provide only current, complete, accurate and truthful information. If you are accessing and using the Site on someone else’s behalf, you represent that you have the authority to bind that person as the principal to all Terms and Conditions provided herein, and to the extent you do not have such authority you agree to be bound to these Terms and Conditions and to accept liability for harm caused by any wrongful use of the Site or Content resulting from such access or use. You may only have one member account per natural person. Persons who are discovered to have more than one account forfeit their zen coins and will be unsubscribed from the Loyalty Program.
  • How To Enroll in the Rewards & Referral Program. (a) Create an account: Visit www.zenartsupplies.com (the "Site" or "Online") and become a registered user of the Site. Click here to be taken directly to the registration page. You will be asked for your first and last name, your email address, and a password. You will also be given the option to sign up for our newsletter. Once you have submitted the requisite information, you will be sent an email to the address you listed confirming your membership. Once you have confirmed your email address, you are automatically enrolled in the Reward & Referral Program and are a member (“Member”).
  • How to Access/Change Your Member Information. You must keep your personal information on your Account up-to-date. To do so, click on the "My Account" section and access your account by entering your registered email address and current password. From your dashboard you can access your account information; review your current and past orders; change your profile; manage your subscriptions and applications, and access your previous purchases.
  • How to Cancel Your Membership. You may cancel an account at any time. To cancel your account, please send an email to support@zenartsupplies.co and write “cancel membership” in the subject line. The email must come from the account currently listed on our servers as being associated with your Rewards & Referral Program. If you no longer have access to that email address, please email our customer service department and we will verify your status and cancel your account. Upon cancellation, you are no longer a member, and any unused zen coins accrued in your account will be forfeited and cannot be redeemed. Zen coins maintain their value only on valid accounts in good standing, and except as otherwise provided here for redemption, have no cash value outside of their redemption value on the Site.


  • General Members can earn zen coins on the purchase of qualifying online products at zenartsupplies.co. To receive zen coins for your Online purchases, you must be signed into your account. You may check at any time to see if you are signed in to the Site by looking in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Gift cards do not qualify for zen coins. Other products that do not qualify for zen coins are noted on the Site.
  • Earning Rate. Members earn 5 sen coins for every $1.00 spent on qualifying purchases (in other words, one (5) zen coins for every one dollar ($1) spent). Zen coins are based on your order subtotal, after any discounts, only. Zen coins are rounded down to the nearest whole number. For example, if you spend $9.99, you will receive 9 zen coins. The calculation is as follows: $9.99 x 1 zen coins per dollar = 9.99 zen coins, which is rounded down to 9 zen coins. This program started on August 17, 2020, and initial levels were set on the 2020 amount spent on ordering products. Note: Shipping and Taxes are not taken into consideration. If an item is return and/or price adjusted that will also be removed from your rewards calculations.
  • Gift Cards. Gift card purchases are not eligible to receive zen coins. However, once a gift card is redeemed, zen coins will be awarded to the recipient for the subtotal after any gift card values, provided s/he is logged into the account, as outlined in these Terms and Conditions.
  • Addition of Zen Coins to Accounts. Zen Coins will be added to your Account under the following conditions, and will generally show up immediately. You will receive zen coins:
    • At the time of account registration
    • During the purchase of qualifying products
    • For other activities outlined on the Site that may show up from time to time. Note that for these other activities, including “bonus zen coins” accumulations and other zen coin promotions, zen coins may show as “pending,” depending upon the activity.
    • Joining the Birthday Club. Birthdate must be entered 30 days before your Birthday to qualify.
    • For Liking the ZenART Supplies Facebook page and sharing the ZenART Supplies Facebook page with your following. This is good one time only.
    • Following ZenART Supplies on Instagram. This is good one time only.
    • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Your account will be automatically awarded the discount only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying purchase. Discount will automatically be applied to account if stipulations are met.
  • Exclusions. Members earn zen coins only on the purchase price of: (i) qualifying online products. Calculation of zen coins excludes payment by the Member for shipping charges and all taxes, including without limitation, federal, state, and local taxes or use taxes. Zen Coins will not be earned on any discounts or other credits offered in connection with a product or service. For example, if a product that is normally $50 is on sale for $25, a Member will only earn zen coins on the purchase price of $25. Purchases of gift cards, redemption of vouchers, and any type of price adjustments, including merchandise returns, are not eligible for zen coins. All purchases made: (i) by a Member prior to such member joining the Program, (ii) Online without a Member being logged onto the Website with the Member's Account number linked to the Member's Online account, are not eligible for Reward & Referral Program credit. The purchase of ZenART Supplies products outside the Zenartsupplies.co website are not eligible for the Reward & Referral Program.
  • Returns/Order Cancellations. Zen Coins earned for a purchase that is then the subject of a return, cancellation, refund, declined credit card or gift card, or other credit will be deducted from your account in an amount equal to the zen coins earned for the original transaction, including any bonus zen coins that may be applicable. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return. Zen Coins redeemed on an order will not be reapplied back to your rewards account for any reason on a returned order. If a return/cancellation will cause your account to have a negative zen coin balance, you will not begin earning zen coins again until your zen coins balance is returned to zero (0), by making purchases, or engaging in other promotional activities offered from time to time. If an item is exchanged (different product) any redeemed rewards on the initial purchase may be transferred to the exchange one (1) time only. Rewards used on an order that is canceled cannot be reapplied as they are good for just one use.
  • Bonus Zen Coins Promotions. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may run certain bonus zen coin promotions. Under bonus zen coin promotions, Members can earn additional or "bonus zen coins" in connection with the purchase of certain online products. When you purchase these specially marked products or make the purchase during a bonus zen coins time period, you will earn bonus zen coins on each product, as specified in the offer. Bonus zen coin promotions are subject to the terms and conditions of the offer and may be offered at any time in ZenART Supplies sole discretion. Bonus zen coin offers cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • Limitations on Bonus Zen Coins and Zen Coins, Generally. These terms apply to zen coins and bonus zen coins accruals. If you purchase a product during a promotion and the product comes with an additional, free product, zen coins will not be issued on the retail value of the free product. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product and pay a portion of the retail price after the zen coin's redemption, you will receive zen coins only on the leftover retail amount you pay, and not on any value attributed to the zen coin you used. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product in an amount equal to the full price of the product, you will not earn any zen coins.
  • Non-purchase Options for Earning Zen Coins. You may also earn additional zen coins on non-purchase activities. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may offer you the chance to win various prizes, and earn zen coins, for entering into promotions. For sweepstakes promotions, there is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PLAY OR TO WIN. Rules and restrictions will apply to such promotions and may be found on the entry page of any promotion.
  • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Email a friend an $8 off coupon on $50 order by clicking “ Earn Zen Coins” then “ Refer a Friend”. Enter the email address of a friend who has not purchased with ZenART Supplies before (if your referral has shopped with us before the referral link will be automatically voided by the system). A referral link will be sent to your friend with an $8 off coupon on a $50 order. $8 off coupon on $50 order will automatically be rewarded to your account only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying first-time purchase with ZenART Supplies. Your Referral friend will receive an $8 off coupon on $50 order, 200 zen coins for signing up, and zen coins from their first purchase made while signed into their new ZenART Supplies account.


  • How To Use Your Zen Coins. Zen Coins must be used in increments outlined in these Terms and Conditions. The maximum number of zen coins that may be used in a single transaction is 10,000 zen coins. Zen Coins may only be used Online at the ZenART Supplies website. Zen Coins towards Products: Members can use their zen coins to reduce the purchase price of a product or to receive a product for free based on the following scale:
    • 500 zen coins = $5.00 off
    • 1,000 zen coins = $10.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 1,500 zen coins = $15.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 2,500 zen coins = $25.00 off your at least $50 order

    Zen Coins can only be redeemed in any combination of the zen coin and increment amounts set forth above. Redemption of zen coins towards purchases of products is subject to product availability. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return.

  • Gift cards. Once available, zen coins cannot be used towards the purchase of gift cards. Gift card redemption, however, is eligible for zen coins. Zen Coins accrued pursuant to the use of a gift card will benefit the gift card user, provided the user has an account in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
  • To Redeem your Zen Coins. Before you begin shopping with us, sign in to your Shop account on our site. Select “Redeem Zen Coins” from the red tab housed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and select the amount of zen coins you would like to redeem. You will be issued a custom code that you can copy and paste into the discount bar during check out (Please note - only one code can be used). Your total payment amount will be discounted by the amount of zen coins you allocate to the purchase. Note that zen coins may only be redeemed for the purchase price of the product. Sales tax, shipping, and other handling charges assessed in addition to the price of the product are your responsibility and zen coins may not be used to discount these additional charges.
  • Exclusions. Only one account per natural person. Only one discount code can be redeemed per transaction. Rewards redemption codes may not be combined with any other discount codes. Zen Coins may not be transferred or gifted at this time. Zen Coins cannot be used on past purchases. Zen Coins accumulated on different accounts by different members may not be combined or aggregated to make purchases of products or for any other reason. Zen Coins earned in a transaction cannot be redeemed in the same transaction. Redeemed zen coins cannot be retroactively applied to any past order or receive a price adjustment on any order where redeemed zen coins were not applied. Zen Coins have no cash value outside of the ZenART Supplies website and are available only to members in good standing.
  • Zen Coins Expiration and Time Lapses. All zen coins acquired, whether standard zen coins or bonus zen coins, shall expire 180 days from the date the zen coins are added to your account. Zen Coins expire 180 days from the date in which they were assigned to your account. Specific onsite activities in which zen coins will be awarded are set to accrue zen coins based on a time-lapse at the discretion of ZenART Supplies.
    • Sign up: zen coins are added to your account instantly
    • Order: zen coins are added to your account when your order is placed.
  • Once zen coins are redeemed, a discount code will be assigned and we are unable to cancel the discount code and reapply the zen coins to your Reward & Referral account. Discount codes generated by redeeming zen coins do not expire until used. They are a one-time use code, so once it is used it is gone. If an order is returned zen coins will not be reinstated.

4. Subscribe & Save Plan

  • Re-occurring purchase. Purchase is necessary in order to participate in this plan. The plan is worth $6.95 and will be charged to your account on the same date of the month that you purchased the plan, i.e. if you purchased the plan on 19th of January, you will be charged for the plan on the 19th of each month you are a Subscribe & Save Plan member.
  • 15% re-occurring discount. As a member of the subscribe & Save Plan, you are eligible for a 15% discount every time you put an order in place. You are qualified for the discount as soon as you purchase the plan.
  • Cancellation. After a purchase made with a Subscribe & Save Plan, you are not able to get a refund for the plan for the month the purchase was valid for but you can cancel for the following months.
  • Free samples & accessories. These are included for members of Subscribe & Save Plan only. These are not included in each order but the member will be informed when they will receive "extras" in their order.
  • Access to exclusive content. Exclusive access to tutorials, guides, tips & tricks in video, pdf, or audio format will be part of the membership program. Not all exclusive content is available but what is and will be available is up to ZenART Supplies sole discretion.


  • By registering with Zenartsupplies.co and joining the Reward & Referral Program, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in these Terms and Conditions, as well as any other terms that may be associated with the Reward & Referral Program. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to cancel, modify, suspend or restrict the Reward & Referral Program, your account, the redemption of zen coins, or any aspect of the Program, including, without limitation, the zen coin conversion ratio and the zen coin expiration policy at any time. Any changes can be made without advance notice. ZenART Supplies may make these changes even though such changes may affect your ability to use zen coins already accumulated. You are responsible for remaining knowledgeable about the Program Terms and Conditions. A Member's zen coins balance, as reflected in ZenART Supplies records, shall be deemed correct. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to determine the amount of zen coins in any Member's account based on ZenART Supplies' internal records related to such Member's account. In the event of an inconsistency between the amount accrued in a Member's account as stated on any Member's receipt and ZenART Supplies internal records, ZenART Supplies internal records will control. ZenART Supplies assumes no responsibility for errors caused by incorrect Member information. Your right to transfer zen coins earned or granted under the Program is strictly limited. The sale of zen coins is prohibited and may result in the confiscation or cancellation of your zen coins as well as suspension or termination of your membership, which in each case shall be final and conclusive. All transactions involving zen coins and all Member accounts are subject to review and verification by ZenART Supplies. The zen coins balance in a Member's account may be unavailable for use when an account or transaction is under review. ZenART Supplies may revoke any Member's membership in the Reward & Referral Program at any time if such Member engages in abuse of the Reward & Referral Program or fails to follow the terms and conditions of the Program. Fraud or abuse relating to the accrual of zen coins or redemption of rewards may result in revocation of membership in the Program and may affect a Member's eligibility for participation in any other ZenART Supplies program, present or future. Zen Coins are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. The interpretation and application of the Program's Terms and Conditions are at the sole discretion and determination of ZenART Supplies. For more information or other questions, click on Contact Us.
  • The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program are subject to change at ZenART Supplies’ sole discretion at any time and without notice to customers. Upon customer’s at-will termination of their Zenartsupplies.com registered account, or if a customer is termination for violation of these Terms and Conditions or other activities in violation of the intent and good faith intended use of this Site, all zen coins will immediately be forfeited and will no longer be redeemable. ZenART Supplies will make reasonable efforts to award zen coins as outlined above to all 1. registered and 2. qualifying Zenartsupplies.co customers but is not responsible for any technical or unforeseen errors that may occur.
  • Zen Coins are nontransferable, nonredeemable for cash, are nonrefundable and are not valid outside of Zenartsupplies.co. Purchases made outside Zenartsupplies.co are not valid for zen coin accrual (this includes, but is not limited to Facebook resell groups, Ebay, and Amazon).
  • Employees of ZenART Supplies are not eligible to participate in the Reward & Referral Program.

Subscribe & Save Plan

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Oil Paint Mixing Guide - Understanding The Process

Oil Paint Mixing Guide - Understanding The Process

Color Mixtures and Materials | Use Of Solvents, Mediums, and Diluents | Fat Over Lean | Various Tips and Healthcare Protection


If you haven't gotten the chance yet, head over to our previous article - Oil Painting Mixing Colors - A Guide To Color Harmony, for various techniques and tips to color mixing and color harmony that would be a helpful guide when employing the other materials and processes that you will be reading here.


Color Mixing
Mixing Oil Paints Tips and Techniques
#1 Mix from light to dark
#2 Use a palette knife for mixing
#3 Use only two to three colors in a mixture
#4 Prepare an eco-friendly solvent and a rag
#5 Change brushes when painting
#6 Keep a color journal
#7 Assess your canvas area
#8 Experiment with your mixtures
#9 Don't mix substances!
#10 Remember the fat over lean rule
#11 Use mediums and diluents gradually
#12 Protect your health

Color Mixing

Traditionally, many of the old masters and artists used a very limited oil color palette to create their beautiful works of art. Mainly because pigments back in the day were harder to come by and thus made them quite limited, this in turn made artists learn to be more innovative and make use of what was then available. They continuously mixed different pigments together in varying amounts, and greatly explored the seemingly endless possibilities of achieving new colors! 

This practice slowly lost its momentum when the rise of industrialization began, modern factories started manufacturing pigments of countless shades imaginable, and it now seemed like there were no longer new colors left to discover. However, knowing how to mix your own colors will instill a deeper understanding of color mixing and give you a greater and more organic instruction on the uses of color harmony. Exploring it gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment and find out the different properties of the colors for yourself, and discover your own style and preferences along the way. Working with a limited palette also makes it easier for you to create visually harmonious paintings with colors that seamlessly work well with each other.

Color analysis of Vincent van Gogh's "The Pink Orchard" reveals the following: Zinc White, Lead White, Prussian Blue, Viridian Green, Emerald Green, Chrome Yellow, and Vermillion. Not counting the whites, as little as five oil colors were used to create this brilliant work of art.

There's nothing to fear! As the Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr once said, "You will have to experiment and try things out for yourself and you will not be sure of what you are doing. That's all right, you are feeling your way into the thing." It perfectly sums up our initial feelings of apprehension and uncertainty when exploring new things, but oh how the joys of self discovery washes them all away. Here are a few of my artist's tips to inspire and help you begin your creative experimentation with colors!

Mixing Oil Paints Tips and Techniques

#1 Mix from Light to Dark

First, choose a light color (i.e. Titanium White, Zinc-Titanium White or Naples Yellow) and then a darker one (Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber). Start out with a generous quantity for your light, and just a small amount for your dark. The reasoning behind this is that darker hues in oil paint usually have much greater tinting powers than the lighter ones. Now you can begin mixing them, gradually add just very small amounts of the darker hue to the lighter one. It is a much harder problem to fix if you put in too much of the darker color at once, you will also end up using more paint than you intended to. Slow and steady is the key. Continue doing this color mixing process until you reach your desired shade. 

A little note about Naples Yellow. I suggest using Naples Yellow especially for mixing the reds - to achieve a lighter value of red, as using pure white will shift the hue and will create pink instead of a lighter red. At the same time, note that the same color might not be the best for blue mixtures, as it'll shift the hue of blues to the greener side, which might not be the effect that you want to achieve. So, be mindful about that when using this interesting color, which we've included into our latest addition to the Infinity series of oil paints - Box of Whites.

For every shade that you come up with, it helps to document each one by getting a tiny amount of the paint mixture and dabbing or swatching it on a piece of paper. Then, you can label them accordingly and write your notes on how you achieved each and every one of them so that you'll have a future reference for the next time you want to mix, especially for certain shades that you've already mixed to your taste! (See more on no. 5)

Burnt Umber, Zinc-Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, and Vermillion oil colors from the Portrait Palette of our ZenART Infinity Series Oil Palettes prepped for color mixing. As shown above, on the left: A small amount of Burnt Umber is mixed with a substantial amount of Zinc-White to create a lighter brown color. More white is added at the bottom of the mixture to create an even lighter shade that can be used for highlights. On the right: Some of the light brown mixtures have been transferred on the next row in preparation for mixing it with Yellow Ochre.
Yellow Ochre is added to the brown mixture that was created by mixing Burnt Umber and Zinc-Titanium White. A deeper and less saturated Yellow Ochre color is obtained. Additional white is added to the bottom part of the mixture to create a lighter shade as well.

#2 Use a palette knife for mixing

Using palette knives for mixing will certainly save your brushes from a lot of wear and tear particularly when mixing great amounts of paint. If you only need a tiny dab of paint, then you can most certainly use your brush to mix it up, but be very careful not to overload the oil paint brush with it. One of the rules of thumb in brush care: The paint should never go past the ferrule. The deeper the paint goes into the ferrule of your brush, the harder it is to clean after. However, it is also worth noting that old, worn out oil paint brushes can be useful for color mixing. If you have a few of those lying around, give them a second life and repurpose them into mixing brushes instead of throwing them away!

Palette knife from our Renoir Collection, a 14-piece set of oil paint brushes and a palette knife designed for oil and acrylic use that comes in a handy roll-up case, making it easy to bring along for plein air painting or when travelling.

#3 Use only two to three colors in a mixture

When working on a single paint mixture, try to stick to a maximum of three colors as much as possible, but don't worry that's not counting the whites of course. Mixing too many different colors together can result into a muddied, dull and lifeless hue. It is more advisable to use as fewer colors as you possibly can, especially when it comes to working with dark colors. And remember to gradually add in small amounts so you can easily control the levels of tint, shade or tone of your mixture.


#4 Prepare an eco-friendly solvent and a rag

After mixing a particular color to your heart's content, you should clean the paint brush or the palette knife used thoroughly to prevent color contamination in the next color mixtures you plan to make. If you used a palette knife, you can simply wipe away the paint by using a rag. You can use old dishcloths, T-shirts, or other old cloth/clothing by cutting them up into smaller sized pieces that are suitable for your painting needs. It's also another great way of reducing waste in your household. If you used a paint brush, thankfully there are now eco-friendly solvents available for your brush cleaning. But before you dunk your brush in the solvent, carefully wipe off as much of the paint as you can using your rag. This will help you from dirtying your solvent too fast and too soon.

A rag cut out from an old T-shirt that I use for cleaning my palette knife and for wiping excess oil paint on while painting.
Here I am with my eco-friendly solvents, brush cleaners, and reconditioner. Left to right: Bristle Magic Brush Cleaner, a small jar I use to transfer some of the solvent/cleaner I'll be using, Brush Cleaning Soap Bar, Now Solutions' Liquid Lanolin (optional), and Zest-it Dilutant and Brush Cleaner.
A closer look at the products that I personally use to clean and recondition my brushes. Clockwise from top left: Zest-it Painting Medium, Bristle Magic Brush Cleaner, Now Solutions' Liquid Lanolin (optional), and Brush Cleaning Soap Bar (or other household/baby/vegetable-based soap bar).

Plus tip for extending your solvent's use: Once your jar of solvent becomes too dirty, set it aside and use another jar of it. After some time, the oil crud will settle at the bottom and you can slowly pour out the cleaner solvent liquid into another jar for re-using. 

Another way of cleaning your brushes is by following the footsteps of the old masters, such as Rembrandt who used walnut oil to clean his brushes. Similarly, we can still use this method nowadays, you can wash your brushes with walnut oil or other vegetable oils (granted that you already wiped off as much of the paint as you could with a rag). Swirl your brush around the oil, blot off the oil on a rag and keep repeating until you no longer see any paint coming out of the brush, and then follow it with a soap and water cleaning. Any soap is acceptable, but try to choose a non-stripping kind like an olive oil soap if possible, to help preserve the natural oils and to keep your oil paint brushes properly conditioned. For my brushes that need the extra conditioning, I use Liquid Lanolin as like a leave-in conditioner to help return them to their former glory - or as near as they can be. Just a small drop is more than enough for a medium-sized brush.

From the left: Liquid Lanolin was first spread on the palm of my hand before thoroughly working it into the brush. Then I use my fingertips to reshape the brush to its original form.

#5 Change brushes when painting

When working on a painting, it's not surprising to end up having to use numerous brushes for quite a number of your colors. In order to achieve a fresher and purer color each time you work, it is important to frequently change brushes or clean the one you're using intensively.  A clean one will give you crisp brushstrokes and won't accidentally muddy up your colors. Some professional artists use as many as 20-30 oil paint brushes during a day's work, with practically each brush dedicated to a specific color.

A good number of brushes ready for a day's work of painting, this set of oil paint brushes are all from our Renoir Collection of artist brushes for oil and acrylic.

#6 Keep a color journal

Having a sketchbook with heavyweight paper that is suitable for oil paint application is ideal to have on hand and ready while painting. When you mix a color you like (or even don't like) - dab or swatch some of it on a page of your journal and write down the process of how you achieved it. List down your mixture's formula, the respective amounts that were used, and any other details that are worth noting of. When working on a specific painting or project, keeping a collection of dabs/swatches of all of the color mixes you used can be quite helpful to have on record as a future color mixing guide. I usually remove the page and let it fully dry somewhere unreachable by others (my children for example), before adding it back to the journal/folder with color-mixing swatches.

Color mixing samples I made and kept as part of my color journal for future reference. It's very useful when trying to recall a particular mixture previously made in mind, and makes for an easier and time-saving color duplication.

For some extra guidance into your color mixing, don't forget to have a look at Oil Painting Mixing Colors - A Guide To Color Harmony. For a deep dive into color mixing, color temperature, and color harmony!

#7 Assess your canvas area

Check the areas of your painting that need the color you will be using or mixing. If you are mixing your own color for a large area (i.e. painting the sky) mix more paint - trust me on this - than you think you might need. You'll thank yourself, it might be difficult to reproduce the exact same color when you suddenly run out of it - gasp! If you are worried about leftover paint, you can still use it as an underpainting for a new work, or do some oil sketching along with your other leftover paints, or even just experimenting what you can create with it through a small abstract painting. Nothing is wasted and you get to have some more fun!


#8 Experiment with your mixtures

When you have two different colors, mixing them thoroughly produces a solid third color. (i.e. If you mix blue and yellow, you get green).

On the other hand, if you only mix them ever so slightly, it can also bring an interesting touch and look to your paint. You will create a third color, but with the two original colors still somewhat visible, and all three existing in beautiful textures of streaks and swirls. This will give your painting a non-flat dimensional look which you can totally use to play around the different values with. Don't be afraid to experiment when mixing oil paints, you might be surprised with the beautiful colors you can create!

Color mixing samples of the primary colors to create the secondaries, but only mixing them slightly to create the textural streaks with three visible colors that can give your painting a very tactile effect. First horizontal row are the primaries, the second row are the secondaries slightly mixed using a palette knife, and the last row are how they look like applied on a surface using a palette knife. Oil colors used are Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow, and Cadmium Red from the Essential Palette of our ZenART Infinity Series Oil Palettes.

#9 Don't mix substances!

Never dilute traditional oil paint using water or mix it with water-soluble paint, such as acrylics - they are not compatible with one another and will not mix well. However, you can use acrylic as an underpainting or imprimatura of your oil painting, and other layers after that as well, as long as they are all done before any oil color application. Remember, the acrylic must be completely dry before you use oil paint on top of it. When changing your oil paint's consistency, use mineral spirits and oils that are specifically made for it like linseed oil, walnut oil, poppy oil, gamsol, and turpentine.

#10 Remember the fat over lean rule

Oil paints are composed of fat, while acrylic, gouache, and watercolor paints are water-soluble. The general principle when painting with layers is this: fatter layers must always be on top of the leaner (or thinner) ones. This is due to the drying process of having multiple layers - the first and thinner layers dry faster than the fatter and top ones. The higher the oil content of a paint is, the more flexible it will be while also allowing for better paint adhesion as the layers progress. With each top layer being fatter than the last, future peeling and cracking can be avoided. In other words, oil paints should always be your outermost or topmost layer, while acrylics are for underpainting.

#11 Use mediums and diluents gradually

The foremost thing to keep in mind is it's best if you don't use too many mediums, especially if you're not yet quite familiar with how each one performs. Working with mediums, diluents, and solvents is a tricky and delicate matter. One has to know just the right amount to use because the use of such additives will definitely affect the outcome of your painting. To be on the safe side, use these substances conservatively and in small increments, add only as you think needed. Combining an excessive amount of thinning agent (like diluents) to the paint may result in an underbound paint film that is usually prone to flaking and may also result in a dull finish.

Sample of oil color gradually diluted using linseed oil as the diluent. From the left, the first one is undiluted and was squeezed out straight from the tube. The following rows have an increasing amount of linseed oil mixed in the farther they go to the right. This color is called Alizarin Crimson from the Essential Palette of our ZenART Infinity Series Oil Palettes. The great thing about our paints is they're already a perfectly pigmented and buttery consistency, you hardly need to use any mediums with it if at all any.

#12 Protect your health

When not handled properly, mediums and solvents that are used for oil paints can be extremely harmful to your health and the environment. Breathing in the vapors that the solvents give off can cause irritation to the eyes and the respiratory tract, prolonged skin contact and exposure can cause skin problems and may also be absorbed through the skin and enter the blood circulation causing various serious long term effects to your health. Because of the health hazards associated with them, I strongly recommend that you use solvent-free mediums or non-toxic and eco-friendly alternatives. We're lucky to have a lot of great options to choose from nowadays, but some of the better alternatives are Citrus Oil Thinners like, Turpenoid Natural, and Bristle Magic, as they also double as brush cleaners that you can use to clean and recondition your brushes.

Here I am again, but now surrounded with all kinds of mediums, diluents and solvents. I personally don't recommend having as many as shown above, a lot of them I actually never even used at all. I trust that you'll heed my advice and opt for the non-toxic solvents, your choice of oils, and perhaps one or two other mediums that are solvent free.
Here's a closer look at the ones I actually use. Now, you can mix and create your own mediums yourself for your own personal preference. For example: A mixture of 65-70% solvent + 25-30% oil + acrylic-styrene or Dammar varnish = makes a leaner medium. To create fatter ones, just make sure that there's more oil in it. Like, 80% linseed oil + 20% Acrylic-styrene varnish. This creates a beautiful uniform sheen and prevents colors from "sinking in."

Though it seems like there's so many things to consider, don't worry and just keep on going, it will be second nature to you before you know it. The sooner you start mixing oil paints, the easier it gets. Now it's time for you to make use of these basic tips for oils that will help you start your oil color mixing and oil painting journey! Just keep on exploring and experimenting to create and discover the color mixes that will work best for your style and your work. And most importantly, don't forget to have fun with it!

We'd love to hear back from you!

What colors are consistently used in your own mixing palette? Do you also like keeping a color mixing journal? What solvents and diluents do you usually prefer to use? How many oil paint brushes do you usually end up using in a painting session? What future content would you like to see from us? Let us know what you think, we'd love to hear back from you. Feel free to leave a comment, and we'll be happy to answer any queries you have. Join our friendly art community Painting Inspiration Daily on Facebook. You can share your art and ideas, watch LIVE tutorials, and be inspired to paint! 

Thinking of venturing into painting the human form and other figurative subjects? Watch out for our next article - Oil Painting Skin Tones. See you on the next one and have a wonderful time exploring and painting!

Ardak Kassenova, ZenART Supplies co-founder, @ardak_zenart

Ardak Kassenova is a London based contemporary artist, co-founder and creative director of ZenART Supplies. Her visual style-contemporary impressionism-share similar aesthetic qualities with those by the French Impressionists. After 20 years of a successful corporate career, becoming a mother to two wonderful girls, and with the continuous development of her practice by taking private lessons from the best artists she could find; Ardak decided it's time to align her life with her true passion, Art. Driven by this passion and her corporate leadership background, she co-founded ZenART.

"My heart and soul were always with Art, and since my childhood as long as I remember myself, I was dreaming to be an artist. I was painting after work, when I had time, and teaching myself through the books, videos, visiting art galleries and museums. I've been very curious about different techniques and styles, and therefore accumulated knowledge and experience on a variety of mediums." 

Read more about Ardak Kassenova in this feature. Say hello to @ardak_zenart on Instagram!

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