The Palette

We have saved the issue of the palette for a separate lesson because it is one of the most important aspects of oil painting.  One day, each artist develops his or her own arrangement of colors, as well as the colors to be used.  The importance of this is that there is a consistency in the colors and general chromatic properties of all the paintings done by the same artist.

It is of critical importance that, whichever colors you choose to use, you conserve the same sequence of color on the palette.  That way, each color is in the same position each time it is needed.  Eventually, it becomes second nature finding the colors  when mixing them.  It saves time and it does not spot the creative flow.

The following is the Santa Maria Palette.  It has worked wonderfully for us and it is where all starts when it comes to painting and preparing the color to be applied.


1 Phthalo Blue
 2 French Ultramarine
 3 Burnt Umber
 4 Burnt Sienna
 5 Viridian Green
 6 Cadmium Red Medium
 7 Alizarin Crimson
 8 Yellow Ochre
 9 Cadmium Yellow Medium
10 Titanium White


Keep in mind that the concept of palette is twofold:

First, it is a collection of the colors that an artist uses.  That way, we can say: Picasso's palette, Rembrandt's palette, etc.

Second, it is the physical palette, i.e. the board that holds the oil colors and on which surface the artist mixes and thins mixtures.  Art sores offer a wide selection of palettes, but we prefer to construct our own.  That way, they are done to our exact specifications for comfort and purpose.  Also, as you will soon discover, an artist can never have too many palettes.