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[ALL]: Materials: My Colors, the “What & Why” (part 1)…

Hello, all!

This is a brief post to tell you which colors I use, why I use them, and how I arrange them on the palette. When I give a mixing example, they’re simply highlights–you need to experiment and mix anything with anything to understand their interactions!

WN=Winsor & Newton Artist’s Oil Colors
Winton=W&N’s lesser grade
Liquitex=No longer makes oils

• WN Bright Red: A solid, “pure” red Red. Not chalky. Mixes well with Cadmium yellow & white for peachy fleshtones. Makes a purer violet when mixed with Ultramarine than the oranger Cadmium Red. Pretty useful for knocking greens back, especially in landscape painting).

• WN Cadmium Red: Rich, slightly-orange tending red. Chalky. Good for knocking greens down (chalkiness/orangeness makes for a less violet-y desat green), and good for knocking back blues (orangey, complementary-wise). Lower key violets when mixed with Cobalt Blue or Ultramarine).

• WN Alizarin Crimson: High-tinting, “acidic” (high-key) red tending towards violet. Mixed with white or yellows will give you rich, higher-key colors simply not possible with either of the two previous reds. Will “electrify” mixtures: with Viridian=deep, purplish tones, with Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, or Indigo will yield very true violets. *Great* for glazing. If you need real magenta, you’ll need to use this or Permanent Magenta (imagine that! ). Otherwise you’ll hafta fake it with reds, blues and some optical trix, such as complementary color bordering-patches.

• WN Transparent Red Ochre: Just bought it for the first time to see what I can do with it. Seems like a less chalky Terra Rosa.

• WN Cadmium Yellow Medium: THE yellow to use if you have just one. Slightly orange, chalky, deep, beautiful. Mixes with greens & reds particularly well.

• WN Aurora Yellow: Tends towards green, not chalky. Good for “truer” green mixes with blues. Nice to have in conjunction with Cad Yell Med.

• WN Indian Yellow: High-tinting, not chalky. When you need a light–yet rich–yellow, a dab of this with white is gorgeous since to lighten Ca Yell Med enough, you need to add a lot of white which knocks its intensity way down. Experiment with “enriching” red & green mixes.

• WN Permanent Green Light. High-ish key. Chalkier than Viridian & Pthalo Green, less chalky than Chrm Oxide Green. Good for mixes where you want some acid-greenness, but without the emerald-y, high-tinting strength of either Viridian or Pth Green.

• WN Oxide of Chromium (Green): Chalky, knocked-back green. You can’t mix this, so you buy it. (Reason? To knock the other greens back and chalk them up, you’d have to add a coupla things, plus more white than you’d want–and still not get this.) Great for taming mixes and in landscape painting.

• WN Viridian: Bluish-emeraldy, deep green, high-tinting. Can (somewhat) obviate need for Pthalo Green in some cases). Good with Ultramarine, Bright Red. Added to Burnt Umber makes a good (color-savvy) substitute for black. Glazey.

•Utrecht: Pthalocyanine Green. Ridiculously high-tinting, emerald-y green. Use sparingly & with caution! Mixed w/ Pthalo or Prussian blue & white can give you electric turquoises/blue-greens impossible any other way.

• WN Manganese Blue: Greener blue; saves you from having to insert an extra (and purity-diluting) greening step to Cobalt Blue or Ultramarine.

• WN Cobalt Blue: Rich, chalky, fairly true blue. Good in skies. Good in small doses to knock complementary mixes back (like fleshtones). Can be used to glaze.

• Liquitex: Ultramarine Blue: Solid, deep, all-purpose blue.

• Utrecht Prussian Blue: High-tinting. Electrifies blue mixes. Can be used (somewhat) like Pthalo Blue. Can glaze.

• WN Indigo: I use this all the time. Rich, darkish, low-key blue-black. Great for underpainting. Mix with Burnt Umber for colorful black substitute. Darken & desat colors–plus cool them down–without using black. Can glaze.

• WN Permananent Magenta: Just for fun. Like a weaker, more violet Alizarin Crimson. Can glaze. If you need real magenta, you’ll need to use this or Alizarin Crimson. Otherwise you’ll hafta fake it with reds, blues and some optical trix, such as complementary color bordering-patches.

• WN Yellow Ochre: Light, warm, neutral-ish color. Don’t use it much.

• WN Raw Ochre: Same as above, but colder and dark.

• WN & Winton: Burnt Umber: You could make a career out of this and white. Rich brown. Underpaint with turp, knock any mix back, add to dark colors for great black substitute. Glaze-worthy.

• WN Zinc White. Slightly less opaque than Titanium White (which I forgot to add to my palette at the time of the pic). Experiment with whites in mixtures, BUT, BUT, BUT: Always use a color and intensity when you can since white may lighten, but it also dulls. Add white *sparingly*. Too much white-mixes kill a lot of paintings.

My usual color selections:

Nick's Oil Paint Colors, Full Palette

Nick's Oil Paint Colors, Full Palette

My Limited Version:


Nick's Limited Oil Paint Color Palette

Nick's Limited Oil Paint Color Palette

NEXT POST: the “How” of these colors–basic (basic) mixing.



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