Maggie Maggio

Exploring Color in the 21st Century

Color Scales Triangle Video

Over the years I’ve tried many different ways to mix the colors in the middle of a three primary triangle. Nothing seemed to work until I came up with what I call “Base Mixing.”

Base Mixing is a two part process that starts with mixing a series of purple colors along the bottom of the triangle, running from a primary “blue/cyan”  to a primary “red/magenta.” The second step is then to mix scales with each of the base colors to a primary lemon or zinc yellow.

I have found that no matter what medium I use – polymer, paint, crayons, pencils or dye – the resulting color scales always follow the same color flow.

For example, when you start with a Blue Violet base color (think of that beautiful, rich color that some people call blue and some call purple) you will always run through a gray, a gray green and an olive green on your way to yellow.

The gray will show up at different levels of the triangle depending on the tinting strength of your Yellow in comparison with the Blue Violet but some version of gray will fall along this line.

Exploring the way color flows from the various purple base colors to yellow will help you learn how to mix and shift colors without using formulas.

Try it in polymer or in any medium that you use!


  1. What a fabulous gift to all artists! Wonderfully clear and beautifully produced. Mille gracie!

  2. Claudia Matiz

    March 5, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Ciao Maggie. !!!!!!!
    Wow , tomorrow I will try to do this scale triangle and then I will let you know what happened.
    I love your videos, they are super.
    Bye ,Claudia (from Stressa…)

  3. Maggie I loved your work.They’re the most beautiful beads I’ve ever seen.Thank you for showing to us the way to make our owns.

  4. To clarify, I said “base” when I meant “primary.” What I meant to ask is whether the primaries in this case were the cobalt/fuchsia mixes, or whether the primaries were still considered the pure versions of those colors.

    Hi Lisa -Good questions. Yes, you do want to use pure Cobalt and pure Fuchsia as base colors. I only showed the colors that require mixing in the video so I apologize if that is confusing. The reason that the formulas are not symmetrical is that Premo Cobalt is so much stronger than Premo Fuchsia.
    The formulas for the purples along the base will vary depending on which colors you choose for the “blue” and the “red.” I like to get a color similar to the Crayola crayon “Purple”, as the middle color of the base so that’s why the middle formula in the video is shown as 1/4 Cobalt and 3/4 Fuchsia. Hope this helps. Maggie
  5. Maggie, I love your videos. The music is a fun, catchy touch, too.

    I do have a question about the cobalt through fuchsia mixes, though: You mix in decreasing proportions down to 1/16th cobalt at the far right, but at the opposite end, you don’t go that far with the fuchsia – only to 1/4. Why is that?

    Should I be thinking of the the 3/4 cobalt and 1/4 fuchsia mix as the blue base instead of pure cobalt as such? And similarly the 1/16 cobalt and 15/16 fuchsia would be considered the red base? If I think of it that way, then really you *could* have started pure cobalt and ended with pure fuchsia, if you’d wanted them to be your base colors. Is that right? Or am I missing the point?

    I hope my question is coherent. Thanks!

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