I'm constantly refining the colors I use; as my work changes so do my paints. Here's my current palatte, with colors in the order I place them, left to right.
As you can see from the photo above, I'm partial to Gamblin colors. I like their heavy, soft consistency, their high quality colors, and their price tag.
My color advice for beginning oil painters
Buy good paint, never student grade. You can't learn to paint well with poor quality paint. Utrecht makes good quality paints that are a great value.
Start with a limited palatte and really learn to use those hues. I recommend the above list, initially eliminating Perylene Red, and Raw Sienna. Resist the temptation to buy other exotic hues until you are really comfortable with these, and you will save yourself a lot of money in unnecessary tubes of paint.
My color advice for intermediate oil painters
Take time to practice mixing secondary hues (oranges, greens, and violets) from your basic palate of colors. Learn why mixing a cool red and a cool blue makes a beautiful violet, but a warm red and a warm blue makes ugly violet mud. (It's because the warm colors also have some yellow in them, which dulls the violet.) This concept is true for all secondary colors.
Then learn to make neutrals using Portland Grey with a little color mixed in. You can make beautiful blue greys, violet greys, and orange greys that will make brighter colors pop when put next to them.
Also, I highly recommend the book Color: A Course In Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors by Betty Edwards. This book does a beautiful job of explaining color in terms of hue, value, intensity, and harmony.
Lessons I wish I had learned earlier
Here are a few quick tips that I learned the hard way.
There's always more to learn! What questions do you have? What tips can you add? Please write to me in the section below.
I'm Linda Hugues and I paint cityscapes from my travels in Europe and my home in Florida. Here on my monthly blog I write about everything related to my art life, in and out of the studio. Enjoy!