My Palette

I have always had great interest in the palettes used by other artists and it is always a joy to run across a blog explaining the particular choices of artists that you admire.  So I have decided to put a little info about my current choice of colors. These seem to do the trick for me at the moment and even though in particular situations I add a couple more, this one seems to get me through most tasks just fine.

Starting on the upper row from right to left:

Ivory Black

Raw Umber (Greenish)

Alizarin Crimson

Transparent Red Oxide

Mars Red

Cadmium Red Light

Cadmium Yellow Deep

Yellow Ochre

Naples Yellow (Genuine)

The Bottom Row From Right to Left:

Green Earth


Cerulean Blue

Ultramarine Deep

The whites in the center Counter clockwise from right:

Flake White (No additional white pigment added. Only Lead and CP linseed oil)

Calcite (In this particular Case, a Calcium Carbonate from California Limestone)

A mixture of the Flake White and Calcite

I do still order all of my pigments and hand grind them. This not only saves me a ton of money, but I also just love to make paint. I have been ordering most of my pigments from Blue Ridge Oil Paint Company ( Eric Silver is the owner and color man and he is fantastic. He is always willing to answer questions and has given me a lot of good advice and his prices are just excellent. I highly recommend using his paint if you’re not interested in grinding colors. It is truly the highest quality.

It seems that many painters aren’t aware of the use of calcite and I think everyone should learn to use it. It was in common use by Rembrandt, Velasquez, Ribera.. It is just amazing. For whatever reason I’m sure science can explain when  Calcite (calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate) is ground into linseed oil it becomes a translucent paste that can be added to colors to give them body but makes them more translucent. This is particularly useful for those of us that use an indirect technique where the greys from our underpainting can play a significant role in showing through in the final layers. I highly encourage other painters to look more into it. Check out Natural Pigments website ( For a lot of great resources about it. Try it out. I think you’ll love it.

As for some of the additions, the most common would be more earth colors. I just love earth colors. I do add Raw Sienna to my palette often especially when trying to hit more olive flesh tones. My two favorite earth reds are Venetian Red and Indian Red. I choose Mars Red in place of these two most often because it kind of falls between them and has such a high tinting strength that I have never even finished the first tube of it I made over a year ago. I do use Burnt Umber sometimes when I feel it would make a good addition but I’ve been mixing my browns with the primaries most of the time. Or mixing black with one of the reds.  Also I will use Burnt Sienna at times as a glaze to unify shadows as it keeps them predominately warm but kind of knocks them down a bit if that makes sense. I recently was out landscape painting and found that Chrome Green Oxide and Cadmium Yellow Light were particularly helpful. I also add Prussian and Cobalt Blue when the need arises.

Of course these are just the colors that I have been using now and these could certainly change one day. I am always open to learning new things and trying them out. Hope this was interesting. Feel free to ask any questions or comment.


One Response to “My Palette”

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