Portrait Artist Forum    

Go Back   Portrait Artist Forum > Painters' Palettes

Topic Tools Search this Topic Display Modes
Old 06-07-2006, 01:39 PM   #1
Richard Budig Richard Budig is offline
Juried Member
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 260
What is your palette?

What is your palette . . . how many colors do you use . . . what are they . . . and what do you like about your method/system?

I ask because, over the years, I have used the Daniel Greene palette (a lot of premixed colors), the John Howard Sanden palette (fewer and simpler premixed colors), Everet Raymond Kinstler palette (2 reds, 2 yellows, two blues, burnt sienna, burnt umber, sap green, and white), and Marvin Mattelson's palette which is probably one of the most simple -- indian red, venetian red, yellow ocher and black (basically, this is it I think).

I've also used the simplified color system of Jose Parramon, who shows you how to get by on alizarin crimson, cad yellow medium, Prussian blue and white. Now, that's really simple.

The trouble is, after using one or the other of these "palettes" for a short time, I find I can make any color made by any of the other palettes.

If this is so, why aren't we all using a much simpler palette?
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2006, 02:49 PM   #2
Enzie Shahmiri Enzie Shahmiri is offline
Associate Member
SoCal-ASOPA Founder
FT Professional
Enzie Shahmiri's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2002
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Posts: 1,395
Hi Richard,

I had to chuckle when I read your post. I also have used different artist's palettes, trying to get a better understanding of what works best. After having layed out paint blob after paint blob and letting it dry, I even ended up with a nice palette collection for reference.

After juggling a huge palette with all colors beautifully spread out, looking way to professionla for my own good, then ending up discarding half of it, since it dried out, I had enough. I too thought, there must be an easier way to achieve great result with less waste.

I opted for Marvin Mattelson's palette and love it, because it is simple to remember, has an easy layout that does not require a satellite dish and results in beautiful skin tones.

My paints are mixed on a stay wet palette with a neutral grey surface and I use just enough paint on a "small" palette (also tinted grey) while painting. Ok, so I no longer look as "cool" as before, but this humble layout suits me just fine.

I now tube my own colors and use just enough as needed. The palette one chooses has to make sense with the style of painting you are trying to emulate.

The trouble is, after using one or the other of these "palettes" for a short time, I find I can make any color made by any of the other palettes.[/
I can't say that's a problem, isn't that the beauty of paint?! Once an artist knows enough about the properties of colors, he/she should be able to mix the desired hues as needed.

So, to make a long story short, I suggest once an artist has used the different palette layouts, to find the palette that makes most sense to you and adobt the colors you think work best.
Enzie Shahmiri
Professional Portrait Artist
Founder of Southern California Society of Portrait Artists
World Market Portraits Blog
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2006, 06:43 PM   #3
Debra Norton Debra Norton is offline
Associate Member
Debra Norton's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2002
Location: Montesano, Washington
Posts: 236
This is what we use at my school:

ultramarine blue
yellow ochre
naples yellow
cad yellow light
cad red light
light red (I use venetian red)
indian red
alizarin crimson
raw umber
ivory black
white (I use cremnitz)

This is said to be the Paxton palette. It's hard for me to say why I like it since it's the only palette I've used. I'm still learning how to use the colors effectively.

Last edited by Debra Norton; 06-09-2006 at 06:45 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2006, 11:14 PM   #4
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
Juried Member
Julie Deane's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Gainesville, GA
Posts: 1,298
I'm taking the Mattelson workshop. Marvin uses a system based on the Paxton palette, so the colors we are using in the workshop are:

flake white
ivory black
French ultramarine blue
Indian red
terra rosa
yellow ochre
viridian green
alizarin crimson
raw umber
raw sienna (but not for flesh tones)
plus a brighter yellow and red if needed

I am really liking the colors. It seems like a pretty adaptable palette.
Julie Deane
Member of Merit, Portrait Society of Atlanta
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2006, 04:26 PM   #5
Richard Bingham Richard Bingham is offline
Juried Member
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Blackfoot Id
Posts: 431
It was interesting to me that in his April workshop, Bill Whitaker noted that some of the painters whose set-palettes are complex re-creations of a full Munsell scale were at first pastellists . . . the method of working suggests the comfort with a really extensive set-palette.

Personally, I think it's efficient to "set" a limited palette for the task at hand, and it will vary depending on the details of the subject.

Color is "personal" and so subjective, the "tricks" of referred color, relative hues, etc., etc. are infinite, and play a part in each individual's development of color in their work. Look over these color lists, they don't vary much . . .
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2006, 12:24 PM   #6
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
SOG Member
FT Professional
Michele Rushworth's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,460
I use something like the Paxton palette, I guess, though not through any specific intention. I have just always gravitated to having about 12 to 15 colors on my palette. It seems like a comfortable array. The core colors are like the Paxton ones, more or less, with a few additions now and then depending on my subject.

Tony Ryder, who uses 42 colors on his palette at last count, does it for convenience and time savings. He talks about why people buy grocery items like mustard rather than buying the various ingredients and combining them at home to make their own mustard. It saves time.

I put my palette in the freezer at the end of the day and the only one that dries up faster than I can use it is burnt umber. Then again, I paint every day and use up quite a bit of paint in a week.
Michele Rushworth
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2006, 09:47 PM   #7
Claudemir Bonfim Claudemir Bonfim is offline
Juried Member
PT Professional
Claudemir Bonfim's Avatar
Joined: May 2004
Location: Americana, Brazil
Posts: 1,042
Send a message via MSN to Claudemir Bonfim
Here it goes...

ivory black
sap green
cerulean blue
ultramarine blue
raw umber
burnt sienna
raw sienna
yellow ochre
naples yellow
cad yellow light
cad red light
alizarin crimson
mixed white (titanium and zinc)
  Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing this Topic: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Topic Tools Search this Topic
Search this Topic:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Topics
Thread Topic Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Carl's armheld self-made palette Carl Toboika Studio & Equipment 23 10-13-2005 10:00 PM
Palette drying too fast Joan Breckwoldt Techniques, Tips, and Tools 18 07-11-2004 01:57 PM
Why learn another Elizabeth Schott Painters' Palettes 5 05-27-2004 05:04 PM
Traditional/Academic Flesh Palette Works Well Michael Georges Techniques, Tips, and Tools 10 09-22-2002 12:36 PM


Make a Donation

Support the Forum by making a donation or ordering on Amazon through our search or book links..

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:37 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.