Gareth Bate

Artwork | News | Curatorial | Inspirations | CV | Bio | Writing | Press | Teaching | Get Free Updates | Contact

It's time to MASTER Colour Mixing
and transform your paintings!


The Colour Mixing Detective

Stop mixing MUD and solve the mystery of your paints
once and for all.

DEADLINE: Fri. Jan. 5, 2018 at midnight.

This is a Toronto technical painting course that runs this winter on
Saturday mornings from 10 am - 1 pm.

My studio at 401 Richmond St. West is the location for this course.


Are you constantly mixing MUD instead of the colours you want?


Have you ever mixed a great colour that felt accidental? And then you had no idea how to recreate it...

Are you wasting expensive paint and washing money down the drain?

Do your paintings look unsophisticated because you use paint straight out of the tube and boring obvious colours?


Yellow Day.


Ever wondered if there's some secret to colour mixing that no one has told you?

Do you repeat the same colour palette on every painting because you're intimidated by your paints or scared to experiment with new colours?

Have you been frustrated by a previous colour "theory" course with zero practical value?

Does your career in film/theatre/interior design require you to have a nuanced understanding of colour?


If you answered yes to most of these. You're in the right place.

"I would say, if you want to really understand colour mixing and want a deep structure and understanding take the course."

- Alison Fleming



Careful! This is a crime scene!

There's been a murder and it's YOUR PAINTING!

Sometimes painting can be more dangerous than Midsummer County. Sadly bad things happen to good paintings. You were working away and then suddenly it all turned into an awful mess. What happened? Who's the villain of this story? Well in my experience it's almost always the obvious person - MUD!

But you're about to lay down the law when you become...
The Colour Mixing Detective.


Ok, let's solve this mystery.

Welcome to your first case Sargent! We have an investigation to get to so it's time to put those little gray cells to work. It doesn't matter if your paintings are realistic or abstract, landscapes or portraits every one who paints needs to know how to properly mix their colours. Mixing beautiful sophisticated colours will take your paintings to a whole new level.

Learning colour mixing is like doing scales on a piano. It’s not the creative part like performing the song in a concert, but it’s all part of the process of learning and practice. What most people do is avoid ever addressing this problem. They don’t want to do the work.

To understand paint you need to understand it's nature.

I want colour mixing to become effortless for you so you don’t have to waste any more time worrying about that stuff. It's time to end the frustration. This is a course you do once and then never have to think about how to mix your colours again. This is a totally learnable skill. You'll gain a deep understanding and then be free to pursue the real work of finding your artistic vision.

Making art is about so much more than mixing colours.



This is the course I would love to have had as a student.

It's one of a kind and far better than anything I learned in my 6 years in art school regarding colour mixing.

I can totally relate to your frustration with colour mixing. The problem isn’t you. It’s the way colour mixing is taught. Oh pardon me, I should say ISN’T taught. I had the same feelings when I was a student. I got around this by doing every colour mixing exercise in multiple books. Luckily for you I’ve created a course that doesn’t require you to spend this ridiculous amount of energy.

There comes a point in your artistic practice where you have to just do the work that needs to be done. Consider this course as a chance to learn what you need so you can finally move forward in your work.

It's time to take yourself seriously as an artist.


"I have a much better idea now of how to mix the colours I want, I am less afraid to experiment with colour and I have a greater appreciation for neutrals and their value in making non-neutrals "pop" in a painting." - Catherine Turl



Class 4: Diana Hamer's studio mess on Orange Day.

Simone Desilet's colour chart for Class 3: Yellow Day of Franz Marc's painting.


Here's How the Class Works

I created Art School Untangled to teach one of a kind courses that you can't find anywhere else. These courses get right to the heart of problems students face and focus intensely on a single issue.

For The Colour Mixing Detective each class is an investigation of a different colour theme. I begin with a demonstration where I explain the nature of each colour group. You then select an image from a variety of art history paintings by famous historic artists that are dominated by that colour. You then work on what I call "Art History Forensics" where you try to match all the colours in your chosen painting as closely as possible. Essentially you fixate on every nuance of colour. We'll keep detailed notes on the colour mixes. Students have described this course as like CSI. Kind of like doing an autopsy of a painting. Throughout the class I move around the room giving tips on how to go about mixing those colours and doing personal demonstrations.

Weekly Colour Themes:

Week 1: Blues
Week 2: Reds
Week 3: Yellows
Week 4: Oranges
Week 5: Greens
Week 6: Purples
Week 7: Earth Tones
Week 8: Coloured Greys


Change your perception as you learn from the great artists of art history.

You'll start seeing how beautiful and sophisticated the colours are in famous paintings. Matching the colours in art history images can become quite captivating. Students get obsessed with the nuance of colours. You'll be mixing colours you've never thought of. You'll be training your eyes to see a huge level of nuance. Students have described suddenly seeing colour everywhere they go differently. You might find yourself walking around Toronto trying to decipher how to make that colour out on the street!

You'll build a life long reference guide. When you're finished you'll pull them all together into a beautiful portfolio you can refer to for years to come. When I was a student I created a colour book and I've kept it for 16 years. I love looking at it!

The emphasis won't be on theories of colour but rather on the practical task of how to actually mix pigments properly. Sometimes the results are surprising and unpredictable.

Homework: I'd like you to complete the in-class excercise. If you have time I've designed some amazing formal colour charts that can be done. Doing them at home is the best option because you can go at your own pace. Seriously, get ready to mix a ton of colour charts! I will give you detailed lists of charts to do and you can complete as many as you can.

Let's be clear - this course requires discipline. It's a lot of work.

You need to arrive with the right mindset. It is not about doing creative paintings and expressing yourself. This is about doing the hard stuff that most people never bother to do. You'll be taking your paintings to the next level.


"During the abstract painting class Gareth brought in his colour mixing book. It was and is very intriguing and beautiful. What got me excited was the process involved in creating a book like that. And the fact that I wanted to learn about colours & how to make colours." - Romana Huq


Class 6: Purple Day

Shyamala Millar's colour chart for Class 6: Purple Day. Later in the course when she had more confidence she started to immitate the effects in this painting by Varley. This took the chart to a whole other level.


Art School Untangled


The Colour Mixing Detective

Solve the mystery of your paints once and for all!



Registration: OPEN!

Instructor: Gareth Bate

City: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Class Location: My studio at 401 Richmond St. West, Studio S-17 in the Basement orange section. (At Richmond & Spadina.) See Google Map.

Number of students per class: 7 maximum

Class Dates: Sat. Jan. 13 - Mar. 3, 2017. 10 am - 1 pm

Spots Remaining: Only 1 spot left!

Duration: Eight Weeks

Important Note: You must be able to attend the first class. It's essential. If you're unable to do this first class but are available for the rest of the course let me know. We could make an arrangement to do a private lesson during the week. Or you could attend the first class with the other class.

Your painting supplies are not included - see full list below.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Fri. Jan. 5, 2018 at midnight.


Saturdays: 10 am - 1 pm

Week 1 - BLUES: Sat. Jan. 13, 2018
Week 2 - REDS: Sat. Jan. 20, 2018
Week 3 - YELLOWS: Jan. Jan. 27, 2018
Week 4 - ORANGES: Sat. Feb. 3, 2018
Week 5 - GREENS: Sat. Feb. 10, 2018
Week 6 - PURPLES: Sat. Feb. 17, 2018
Week 7 - EARTH TONES: Sat. Feb. 24, 2018

Week 8 - COLOURED GRAYS: Sat. Mar. 3, 2018

Dates don't work for you?

If you're interested in this course but these dates don't work for you be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you get updates from me about future courses. I change the days and times each semester. I'll likely be offering the course in the either Monday or Tuesday evenings in Spring 2018 and possibly Saturday mornings. Shoot me an email to let me know that you're interested.



You can SAVE $50 off your course price if you sign up a friend who hasn't taken my courses in the past.


Need to miss a class?

No problem, I got you covered!

I'm offering one FREE BONUS Sunday morning makeup class - Dates to be arranged with the classes.


Class 7: Diana Hamer's Earth Day colour chart of Andrew Wyeth's painting.

David Barron's colour chart for class 7: Earth Tones. David started to change it up by actually painting the textures that appear in the painting by A.J. Casson.


Course FAQ

I did a previous Colour Theory course and it was boring and repetitive. If I have to do another colour wheel I'll scream. I still don't know how to mix colours. How will this be any different?

No colour wheels. The Colour Mixing Detective is completely different from regular colour theory courses. I don't care about theories at all. They're irrelevant for mixing actual pigments. I created it based on what I think is essential to learn to understand colour mixing based on 17 years of painting experience. I'd say don't worry about that previous course. Consider it your intro to theories and this one as the practical side. I would honestly say that the majority of students have ended up obsessed with colours after a few weeks of the course. Fixating on an art history image and really going into depth on how that historic artist made those colours can be captivating. It's intensive and focused work but very rewarding.


"The class was hands on, not theoretical colour theory. I did that course before somewhere else. Learned nothing in the other class - learned tons with you." - Mary Ann Grainger


I'm worried this might be too hard for me. Will I be able to do it?

I've now taught 50 students of very different levels in this course and everyone was able to get it. The first two classes might be challenging at first. It gets much easier and faster by the time you get to class three. By the last three classes most students are pretty casual about it.


How does doing these charts help me to mix colours in my own paintings?

By studying the work of famous artists you'll see how sophisticated their colour is. You'll learn to be able to match the colours so that when the time comes with your own paintings you'll be able to recreate that colour you came up with. You'll learn the subtle variations that make all the difference in creating beautiful nuanced colours instead of obvious straight out of the tube colours. You'll also be exposed to colour palettes that are different from your own inclinations. This will help you to open up to using colours that might not feel natural to you but will enhance your range.


I work in the film/theatre/interior design industry would this class work for my professional career?

Absolutely. The course is geared towards fine artists but I've had a number of students go through who have worked in set painting, makeup design and interior design. They've found it very helpful and applicable to their careers. Send me an email if you have questions about whether the course would work for you.


What does the homework involve?

You'll need to complete the in-class assignments and ideally technical colour charts in advance of the classes. Students who put the time in at home do really well in this class. You should be willing to put in at least an hour ideally 2 hours of homework each week.


I need to miss the first class, can I still take the course?

You can't miss the first class. Missing the first class will make it impossible to follow. However we could make an arrangement.  If you are able to make the first class on the other day that would work. Or we could arrange some time before class 2 to do a private lesson in my studio where I teach you the lesson.


Gerald Steele's colour chart for Class 5: Green Day. He worked in watercolour and changed the format.

David Serber's colour chart for Class 5: Green Day. He worked in oil and also changed the format.


Materials FAQ

I'm unsure about this course because of the cost of materials. Do we really need all these colours?

I totally understand the concern about the cost of materials. Trust me I have the same experience every time I go to the art supply store! Making art in not cheap. I've taught this to 50 students and I've refined the course material list to the essentials. You won't regret buying any of these colours. They will be the foundation of your colour palette from this point forward. I've selected colours that allow you to mix nearly every colour you'll encounter.

It's impossible to mix every colour using blue, red and yellow. That is way too simplistic. The problems most students have is previous teachers telling them that they only need a few colours to do their paintings. This is fake news and leads to a lot of frustration. That being said, you also don't need millions of colours. This list is the essentials in my opinion. I promise you that you will waste considerably less paint in the future after taking this course.


Can I leave things at your studio?

Yes, you can leave all your supplies and paper at my studio. However there is homework so you'll need your paints.


What brands of paint should I use?

Below I list brands and the full material requirements. I think you should always use artist quality paints from day one. One of the biggest issues students have with painting is using crappy student paints. By starting with professional paints you learn to paint once rather than having to learn twice when you end up switching. Good paint makes good paintings.


What medium should I use?

Acrylic: Most students work in acrylic as it's easy and dries fast. But if you plan to work in another medium for your paintings then use that medium.

Oil: Working in oil is fine. You just can't use solvents in the studio. They're not necessary. Water mixable oils are also fine.

Watercolour: It's fine to use watercolour as long as you're committed to it as your medium of choice. Keep in mind that watercolour is very challenging. If you're just looking for a medium to use then I'd go with acrylic. If you intend to use watercolour then I have a separate paint list for you. I also have separate images that are watercolours to work from. Be sure to let me know if you intend to work in watercolour.


Unsure if this is for you?

Shoot me an email and we can chat about it.


Ready? continue on to join us!


About Me

My name is Gareth Bate and I’m a full time artist, curator and art teacher living in Toronto. I work in painting, installation and photography. I have an email newsletter called "Art Untangled" where I talk about art every week. You can subscribe here. I've been asked if everything I do revolves around art and the answer is pretty much yes!

I've travelled extensively and visited all the major museums in London, Paris, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Montreal and Cape Town. I'm Festival Curator of the World of Threads Festival an international festival of contemporary fibre and textile art in Oakville. I graduated with a BFA from OCAD University and a diploma from Central Tech's adult art program. I've been teaching since 2008. I’ve been featured on CBC News and Radio Canada and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Now Magazine and La Presse among others.

Here are the courses I teach:
Art World Untangled: Museum Tours
Art History: The Masters: 1400-1850
Art History: The Moderns: 1850-1980
Abstract Painting
Outdoor Abstract City Drawing
Part 1: The Colour Mixing Detective
Part 2: The Colour Match Maker


Catherine Turl's colour chart for class 6: Purple Day. Catherine came up with a brilliant note taking method.


Essential Class Materials

Art Supplies are not included in the course fee.



So it’s time to make a decision.

You can continue to play with MUD...

Or you can join us and learn to mix your colours properly.



Register Now to

Reserve Your Spot!


Registration is OPEN.


COST: $399

Eight Week Course + One Free Sunday Bonus Makeup Class

Class Material Fee: There is a $40 fee for the art history colour photocopies and in class paint demonstration supplies.



You can SAVE $50 off your course price if you sign up a friend who hasn't taken my courses in the past.



How to Pay

When you book I'll send you an invoice. You can then send me an online e-transfer. You could also pay by check or cash during the first class. Payment is required during the first class.



"I liked that you gave us honest feedback, helped us see where we had not matched colours correctly, indicated when YOU couldnt quite get the colour at first stab and mainly your supportive, warm style." - Alison Fleming


Here's how to register...

Send me an email:

Subject Line: Registration for The Colour Mixing Detective

What to include:

Full Name 

Your Email

Your Cell Phone (so I can communicate with you if necessary)

What medium do you plan to work in? 

Which class are you joining?  Saturday

Payment Method: Online: e-transfer or In Person: cash or check on the first class.

Your Expectations: Anything in particular you're hoping to learn?

How did you hear about the course?


What happens next?

After you register I'll confirm in an email and then send you an invoice and full course info and pdfs of the art supply list.


Still Got Questions?

Send me an email:


I'm looking forward to seeing you!



Please share my courses with anyone you know who might be interested.


The class working away.