Colours & Palettes

Here’s the thing, with so much colour…

…where do you start. Well, that was certainly one of the questions I asked when I first started botanical painting. And the answer was… well I didn’t really get one, and had a time of it deciding on what to get and from where.

Of course, the basic colours such as yellow, blue and red where at the top of the list, but with so many from Cobalt to Phthaloyanine just in the blues. I had trouble saying them, let alone knowing whether or not I should but them.

Luckily, help was out there and I discovered a great website called Handprint. This place really is a great resource as it names every pigment, with its number and tells you lots about each one. Is it warm, cool, light or deep in hue, everything you would wish to know. See below for the links to the red, blue and yellow pages.

Now, it’s really tempting to become a colour junkie and go out there and buy the lot, but there are always a couple of questions I ask myself before I go hell for leather in the paint shop.

  • Is it a pigment I already have, just with a different name?
  • Does it have the properties I want?
  • Does it fit in with my style?
  • Am I really going to use it?

After much trial and error, I am now a much more refined chooser of colour, adding new pigments to my palette only when I need them, and if they have passed those questions. My video on Colour & Palettes gives you more detail on which colours I use and how to choose a good palette.