Colour Detox

March 4, 2014 | 3 Comments

Paul Wang and I have discussed reducing the colours in our palette – in essence to go on a colour detox. It is like going on a colour diet, going back to basics, revisiting colour mixing and challenging yourself with limitations. He recently set up a little kit for himself and I am doing the same.

So here is my colour detox palette…

I am trimming down from 16 to 4 main colours – a primary triad (hansa yellow med, carmine, French ultramarine) plus a ‘burnt sienna’.
and then I have 4 additional colours that I can rotate as I feel like…
Quin Gold is just so useful for mixing greens help keep my yellow clean! yellow
Cerulean Blue for neutral greys for white objects and the australian blue sky
Green Apatite and Indanthrone Blue… for a special reason that will be revealed later.

Using a pill box from diaso – I think those lids are going to get in the way but hope that they will keep my paint moist which is what I want.
BTW I am using my green sailor a lot these days for sketching and painting first before line…but note to self: writing with it is a little too unpredictable.

And here is the first sketch I did with this small kit… It was fun and I only really missed one colour – cobalt turq light… I can see that the green apatite is under threat already!!!!


  • Liz Steel says:

    yes indeed!!!! or constantly wiping your palette clean. I am not sure that a triad is really a good solution for sketching on location

  • Don't you find the smaller the number of paints the larger the mixing palette needs to be?

  • I agree. It's so much about the speed of capturing something that there is a lot to be said for a varied palette on location. I think 13/14 is about as few as I want to go so I only ever have to mix two pigments together. Go less than that and you are mixing three or more….time consuming.

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