What Colours Should Make Up A Beginner's Painting Palette?


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elizabeth murray Profile
Whether you want to paint with watercolours, gouache or acrylics, the colour palette that you choose is as important as it will directly affect the impact and success of your painting. When you start out painting, it is not necessary to buy the whole spectrum of colours available. Your palette can be basic yet yield a wide range of colours.

It is important that your palette contains a range of primary colours; red, yellow and blue. This is because these can be mixed to make a full range of secondary colours; orange, purple and green. The primary colours need to be in a mixture of both warm and cold tones to enable you to mix an adequate range of colours as required.

The absolute basic number of recommended colours is six; cadmium yellow, cadmium scarlet, cerulean blue, permanent rose, lemon yellow and ultramarine blue. These incorporate a warm and cold shade in each of the primary colours so that a good balance can be achieved.

The addition of titanium white is also recommended with acrylics and gouache, for the purpose of lightening and highlighting. Other whites achieve specific effects such as creating opaque or pearl sheens, so make sure you select the correct one until you are more familiar with the paints.
Helastair Vexed Profile
Helastair Vexed answered
Whatever your media, you absolutely must have red, blue, yellow and white.
With these colours, you can make all the other colours. The three primary colours can be mixed to make green, purple, orange, and then onto brown and other mixes. White is used to lighten the shade.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
Brown is a mix of all colors... It is interesting that no-one has mentioned black... something which is considered to be a "no-no" in painting. The reasoning is that the darkest colors are the depths of color (hue). We should be able to find the deepest, darkest violet in the "almost black." Or, the deepest, darkest green in the depths of the sea. Black is the absence of color... not complimentary to the palette. I like the suggestion for the palette above.

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