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painting the figure


module 1: supplies

A: Palette and easel

a. Palette

b: oil Paints: Palette Arrangement

Core Colors

Titanium White

Cadmium Yellow

Cadmium Orange

Cadmium Red/Vermillion

Alizarin Crimson

Manganese Blue Hue

Ultramarine Blue

Green Gold


I will start with what my core colors are and where I put them on my palette and I will break down why. I start with titanium white at the very top. My light warm colors will go along the top left edge of the palette. On the top right side my cool colors from warmest and lightest to darkest will go on the top right side. The reason I like to do it that way is because I like to have some sort of organization to my setup. There are different ways to lay out your palette. Some people prefer all their colors on one edge or the other in a certain order. I'm giving myself a little bit of room in between just in case I want to add some colors between one and the other.

Cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red, and alizarin crimson. Those make up my core warm colors. On the right side: manganese blue hue, ultramarine blue, green gold, and viridian. Those are my core primaries and secondaries that I add to my palette when I'm working in full color.

Earth Colors

Yellow Ochre

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Umber

Turkey Umber

Ivory Black

Next up are my Earth colors. Yellow ochre between titanium white and cadmium yellow because I want to keep bright primaries next to each other. I can have yellow ochre be its own mixture nearby. Next will be burnt sienna, turkey umber, burnt umber and ivory black. I like to put my earth colors on the right edge of the palette for no other reason than I just have gotten used to it there, but feel free to put them anywhere else you like. That's just what I'm used to.

Additional Colors

Radiant Yellow (Gamblin)

Manganese Violet

Cobalt Turquoise

Cobalt Blue

Additional colors I will demonstrate for you just for their own sake. Radiant yellow is a color I sometimes use very rarely, but it's a great color for certain types of light as a convenience. I use violet a lot as a convenience color. Cobalt turquoise I will sometimes use when I really need to mix a certain color that I just can't get any other way or really easily by mixing some of my other paints together. Cobalt blue just for the sake of convenience I like to have that on my palette sometime. So there's usually still more room to put things next to each other.

It doesn't matter so much how you organize your palette. It just matters that you organized and in some logical method that make sense to you, and that you do it the same way every time. The more you get used to it the better you'll be able to just be intuitive with your mixtures. It's sort of like thinking of them as keys on a piano. As you play with your colors, you just want to know where they are instinctually as you paint with them. That's my palette.