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Color Palettes: A Semi-Limited Color Palette

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Oil painting takes a lot of supplies. BUT! Before brushes and palette knives and palettes and canvases and mediums and...more stuff... let's talk color.

There are two key components I considered when creating my own idea of a "beginner's palette." One, the palette needs to cover the three main qualities of a paint: color temperature, opacity, and tinting strength (more on these click here). Two, the palette needs to be limiting enough that our colors don't run away with us, yet workable enough to assuage any beginner frustrations.

My idea of a beginner's starter pack takes these two points into consideration and starts with six colors plus a white and black:

Cool Colors

Hansa Yellow Light Quinacridone Red Cerulean Blue

Warm Colors

Cadmium Yellow Light Napthol Red Phthalo Blue

For Tints and Shades

Titanium - Zinc White Ivory Black

With these six colors plus white and black you will be able to take on almost any task. However, they are also limiting enough to help painters of any level maintain a continuous color harmony.

Starter Expansion Pack:

Burnt Sienna Yellow Ochre

These earth tones help round out our starter pack.

If you would like to know more about different color palette recommendations, below are a few links you might be interested in:

Zorn Color Palette

Do you have any recommendations or amendments? Is there a red, blue, or yellow that would be a better pick? Let me know in the comments!

This is a rewrite of my original blog post, Color Palettes: Basic and Beyond.

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