Placement of Cold/Warm Colors on the Palette?

by Dora
(Somewhere in the big state of Texas!)

oil paint color mixing

oil paint color mixing


Editors Note:

This is a big question and without additional information, like any broad question, will be difficult to answer without knowing a little more about what kind of painter you are. I'll try to answer some of this here, and send you to another page on the site that will give even more answers.

Firstly, the question needs to be answered as to what kind of painter are you? Landscape, still life and portraits all require slightly modified palettes in order to be successful.

Do you like high key colors? Bright or super bright? Or are you more low keyed with pastels of soft colors and subdued subject matter.

The Colors you select are as varied as there are styles in painting!

Another question that needs to be answered is, are you right handed or left handed? This will determine where you lay your colors too!

So, lets just use my example of a typical painting session for me. Since I do florals, and still life's mostly, the landscape palette shown in the photo above is not what I usually have on my palette.

As I am right handed for most things, I hold my palette in my left hand. Starting from the left and moving to the right along the top edge I place my paint piles. I use the middle section and upper right section of the palette for mixing.

Titanium white, Cad Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue, My Gray Mixtures and prepared black. I've used this arrangement for years, and I can almost reach for a color without looking.

I pull out the Phthalo blue, cad red medium, cad yellow medium when I have a special need for them. (like a vibrant orange or a knock my socks off green) These come in handy for some landscape or special item that I don't normally see in nature.

Using as few colors as necessary keeps your colors clean and vibrant. The more colors you mix to get the color you want, the more muddier it becomes.

I have a 2 part article here: Color Mixing that explains this in greater detail.

I hope I've answered your question well, and feel free to comment further below if I need to expand on the subject better.

With best wishes, and happy painting!

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