Artist palette color choice similar to Richard Schmid's

Artist palette color choice similar to Richard Schmid’s

Ever wonder where to begin with paint color choices? Looking to those that you admire is a good place to start. For a recent painting session I chose the colors similar to those of Richard Schmid

Left-to-right: Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Viridian, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Permanent, Cadmium Red, Trans Oxide Red, Yellow Ochre Pale, Burnt Umber, Titanium White

john-singer-sargent-lady-agnew

John Singer Sargent

Curious as to what other figure painters use/used?

Note: Intended as a guideline – Actual color will vary of course from brand to brand.

John Singer Sargent: Blanc d’Argent,Chrome Pale (A Yellow), transparent Golden Ochre, Chinese Vermillian, Venetian Red, Chrome Orange, Burnt Sienna, Garance Fronce’ (Rose Madder), Viridian, French Ultramarine Blue, Ivory Black, Cobalt Blue,

Nelson Shanks: Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Venetian Red, Crimson lake Deep (Old Holland), Permanent Rose (WN), Cad Red Deep, Cad Scarlet, Perinone Red (Gamblin), Perylene Red (Gamblin), Cad Orange, Raw Sienna, Indian Yellow (WN), Yellow Ochre, Cad Yellow, Cad Yellow Pale, Cad Green Pale, Cad Green, Viridian (WN), Pthalo Green, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt blue, Manganess Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Ivory Black, Flake White #2

Daniel Greene: Flake White, Ivory Black, Prussian Blue, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, Cad Yellow Med, Cad Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Sap Green, Thalo Green

Warren Chang: Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Cad Yellow, Cad Orange, Cad Red, Terra Rose, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Ivory Black

Kinstler: Cad Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Cad Yellow Light, Cerulean blue, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna Sienna, Burnt Umber, Sap Green, Titanium White

William McGregor Paxton: Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Cad Yellow Light, Cad Red Light, Venetian Red, Indian Red, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Umber, Ivory Black, Titanium White

David Kassan: (Vasari Paints) Brilliant Yellow Light, Rosebud, Video Blue, Kings Blue, Cinnabar, Terre Verte, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Capucine Red Light, permanent Bright Red, Ruby Red, Scarlet Sienna, Red Umber, Burnt Umber, lamp Black, Flake White, Titanium-Zinc White

Basic Color Theory

The following information is intended as a basic understanding of color for the painter, general crafter or for the photographer.

Basic Color Wheel

Primary Colors – Red, Yellow and Blue are the basics of  color mixing. They can not be made on their own, but in theory you can make all the other colors on the color wheel

Secondary Colors – Violet, Green, and Orange are the colors that are created secondly by mixing the primary colors together.

Examples of  – Subtractive Color Theory  / Additive Color Theory

Subtractive Color – if you add its three primaries (Red, Green, Blue), the end result is white.

Additive Color – when the primaries cyan, magenta and yellow are mixed the end result is black. This is the color theory we are using here.

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Color Schemes


ComplementaryColors are opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance the compliment of Blue is Orange, the compliment of Red is Green etc.

Split Complementary is made by using a color and the two colors next to its compliment. Such as by using Red, and then using Yellow and Blue.

Triadic Color Schemes are made by any three colors that appear an equal distant from each other on the color wheel, such as Red, Yellow, and Blue.

Analogous Color Scheme is made by colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Monochromatic Color Scheme is made from one color or hue with multiple values and intensities.


Warm colors are colors that represent a feeling of warmth or heat such as Red, Orange, and Yellow.

Cool Colors are colors that represent a feeling of coolness and chill, such as blue, blue green and violet.

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Value Scale the amount of light and dark that is shown. The less value the lighter it is.

Contrast is the difference in values. The strongest contrast can be seen by placing the two extremes next to each other. When two lesser extremes are next to each other they are said to have low contrast. The closer they are in value, the lower they are in contrast.

Tints are created by adding White to a value. In the case of hand-coloring a print the white would generally be added by using the paper and having a transparent color wash.


Tones are created by adding Black to a value. In the case of hand-coloring the artist will either add a bit of black to the color or use the existing shades of grey already in the image.

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