When I get a new colour - mica, ultramarine, iron oxide, and so on - I like to play with it to see how it will change with my base. I make up a little chart something that looks something like this.
So I know what it looks like without base, with base in different ratios, and finally - at the end - with some gold mica. (I don't do gold mica every time...I was thinking of a colour when I made this.) You'd be surprised how some colours change when you add a base. For instance, burgundy iron oxide goes purple - making a lovely violet base for another colour - and some purples can go pink. This is why I have my basic base and my alternate base - if I want the burgundy to go purple, I'll know which base to use!
The chart is helpful when I'm thinking of making a colour - let's say, pink champagne (a pink with gold flecks) - and I'm not sure which way to go. Do I start with a base of ultramarine pink and add some gold mica (as above, or pink mica with gold mica, or coral mica with a hint of pink or gold?
You can add titanium dioxide or white mica or more base to make a colour brighter.
You can add black iron oxide or black mica to make a colour darker - but don't use too much! As you can see from this picture, even 1/2 scoop black iron oxide can make 9 scoops of base and pink black! (Although I swear I can see some pink in there). Start with a tiny bit and work your way up! Too much black can make something muddy.
Having said this, do try black with various colours to see the effects. You can use black iron oxide for a matte effect; black mica for a shinier effect. Black and yellow together will make an olive green!
COLOUR BLENDING - THE LAYERS
I have no idea what this should be called, but I think of them as layers. Take for example a black eye shadow (to be used as a liner, unless you're an emo kid!), a colour I know I never thought of as being more than just black!
I think of my blends as having layers. There's the base layer - the colour you really want, like green or blue or pink. Then the middle layer - how you're going to change that colour by adding other iron oxides or micas. And the top layer - the highlights or sparkles in the colour. (Although, often the middle and top layers are the same thing when I add micas because they give colour and sparkle).
When making a black, my base layer is black. The middle layer - I like to add some blackstar blue to add a little blue to the mix. Then the top layer would be black satin mica, which gives it some sparkle and shine. I could use black iron oxide and base, but then I look like I've used Sharpie on my eyes (not a good look for me), so I add the layers to give it a little depth and sparkle.
For this colour - I call it Oscar - I wanted a green with black highlights. So the green is the base layer - the primary colour I want in this eye shadow. Then I add some blackstar green to change the colour to change the shade of the colour from green to black. The sparkle and shine comes from the green and blackstar green mica, so I didn't add anything else to it.
I realize the layer concept might seem silly - it sure seems silly as I'm typing this - but I find if I break the colour down into its core components of base colour, shade, sparkle, and so on, it makes it easier for me to create colours.
I could buy a ton of micas - in fact, I have - of every shade to make MMU, but it is simpler to combine your colours to make what you want. In the case of pink champagne above, you could create a ton of different eye shadows with ultramarine pink and gold mica, but you might be more limited if all you have is coral mica.
Join me tomorrow for fun with the colour wheel for blending colours!