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 pillbox 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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