My mix for brick

In Montreal I tend to sketch a lot of brick buildings, and over the years I have experimented with many combinations of colour to achieve that reddish brown that so perfectly describes Montreal architecture of a certain era.


My latest and most successful recipe is this: Winsor Newton Burnt Sienna + M. Graham Mineral Violet + the tiniest dot of Permanent Alizarin Crimson (also M. Graham, in this case). I’m not sure how I ended up with a tube of Mineral Violet but I added it to my palette last summer and it’s been quite useful. If I make the brick mix without this, it ends up too pinkish, but the purple gives it a depth that is much closer to what I see in the buildings. I used to use Carbazole Violet when I wanted a ready-made purple but it’s quite strong. Mineral Violet blends in well with other colours in the same way as another favourite of mine: Cerulean Blue. It’s a polite colour. It adds something confidently and gently, without taking over, like some pushier colours on the palette might do.

And as always, there is no right or wrong with this. Just a personal preference.


14 Comments on “My mix for brick”

  1. Cleti says:

    This is very helpful. Thank you.


  2. Barbara Beynon says:

    I like that you give the colors personality traits! Thanks for the tip on the mineral violet. I too have usually had the stronger purple in my palette and it is so dominant. I look forward to trying the mineral.


  3. Yung-Ching Hung says:

    Thank you, Shari, for sharing your recipe.


  4. Alison says:

    Absolutely delicious… perfectly captures this particular architecture and gives it depth and vibrancy. Very instructive as well of course! Thanks.


  5. miatagrrl says:

    “Polite” colors? 🙂 I really enjoy learning how you mix paints. . . like a tiny peek into your brain! Thanks –

    – Tina


  6. stephanie descoteaux says:

    A Montreal recipe. Thank you, you are so generous.


  7. Monique says:

    All your street scenes..buildings are always just so right and so you.
    I love recipes:)

    And I am very fond of M Grahams.Such a little novice and I have fave brands and colors.


  8. Janine says:

    That’s a nice recipe for brick. And it would also be easy to get variation into the washes as you go… add bit more alizarin, then a bit more burnt sienna, then a bit more violet, etc. A question for you about your tube of MG Mineral Violet, which I agree is a beautiful color. I got a tube of it a while back and it was rock solid and difficult to squeeze out of the tube. (not at all like the other MG colors). I was told that that was its normal consistency due to the pigment. Is yours the same?


  9. Soni says:

    Thanks so much for this kind of info
    What brand Cerulean do you prefer ? A polite color is a good description of it


  10. Lee says:

    You are so generous. Thank you. What about grey stone walls and your light tan I see so often? And the browns of trees. Yes, I have sketchers envy. 😎


  11. Judy Sopher says:

    This is a big problem for me even tho I have taken your classes on Craftsy. I really appreciate your help. And your lovely painting. Thank you for this.


  12. joantav says:

    Great buildings and I love the color. I usually get something that is too red. That looks like a great recipe.


  13. andre savard. says:

    Beautiful view of these houses near 24th. Yolur visit at our show was apreciated. I am amazed how you can turn an ordianary scene into an interesting sketch.


  14. Julana says:

    Gorgeous colors and mix.


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