The clear will mix fine with the color. If you ask any paint instructor for a tech school he will be against it and tell ya to use a transparent base (like the ones used to suspend a pearl coat, or add ass loads of metal flakes) I did it this way cause its cheap and easy. I did mine on my jeep and the taillights saw dry mud, im sure bad chemicals, dirt and a pressure washer and they never peeled or faded.
I get what your saying about the whole thing, it took me an hour to properly mask both lights to do this, i think it would look ok depending on what color plastic/color of the car your starting with, like mine im sure it would have been fine, white, you may have to go the long way, apint the surround first and then tape the surround off and do the tails. but it should work. I used 600Gritt dry to ruff up the lights, or you can go grey scotch bright, do not go to red scotch brite or coarse'er grit, you will see the sand scratches thru the paint, 600 does the job fine. let me know if you have anymore questions, i will be more than happy to help, hopefully this will catch on.