I’m often asked about the colors I have in my palette, and since I just updated it for spring I thought I’d do a quick rundown!
From left to right and top to bottom we have (*):
- Bismuth Vandate yellow (PY184) — I usually only have a cool yellow on my spring palette as I find I don’t use it as much the rest of the year. But that color is perfect for mixing clean spring greens with phthalo blue! Alternatives are hansa yellow light or cadmium yellow light. I prefer bismuth since it’s more lightfast as well as more opaque than hansa yellow light.
- Cadmium yellow medium (PY35) — alternatives are new gamboge.
- Yellow ochre (PY43) — perfect for adding yellow to sky washes or making dull greens. Alternatives are raw sienna or Monte Amiata siennia.
- Cadmium red pale (PR108) — alternatives are organic vermillion or pyrrol scarlet.
- Quinacridone coral (PR209), also called quinacridone red in some brands.
- Quinacridone rose (PV19) — alternatives are quinacridone magenta or quinacridone pink.
- Cobalt teal blue (PB36) — alternatives are cerulean blue chromium. Note: I really prefer this in the DaVinci paint brand, called cobalt turquoise PB36.
- Phthalo blue (red shade) (PB15) — you can use phthalo blue green shade here as well — I prefer the red shade as I can use it for a quick sky without mixing anything.
- Ultramarine blue (PB29) —alternatives are French ultramarine blue.
- Indanthrone blue (PB60) — there’s nothing quite like this color! I love how readily it blooms.
- Pereyele green (PBk31) — there’s nothing like this one either!
- Transparent red oxide (PR101) — alternatives are burnt sienna.
(*) I used the Daniel Smith color names here, but I have a mix of brands including DaVinci and Winsor and Newton. I’ve listed the pigment numbers for you so you can check those as well.
I think of this palette as my workhorse palette and I’ve used it for everyday sketching from Texas to Ohio and points in between. I mostly paint flowers, leaves and landscapes so if you’re more of an urban sketcher or portrait artist your milage may vary.
Hope this helps someone out there and let me know if you have any questions!
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