With the (in)famous paint-maker Robert Doak in August, 2007

The perfection of my palette is a continuing endeavor.  Though I am still fond of finding those special colors straight from the tube, I have made great strides in recent months to  limit my palette to as few colors as possible… and even going so far as to making my own colors (from the limited palette) that I’ll put into tubes with labels like “V Flesh,” “T Flesh,” “Dark Grey,” etc.  (A trick taught me by Odd.)

The ultimate goal, I think, is to inhabit a pedigree that serves your style and substantiates your creative conversations.

The more I get to know about my own palette, the more intrigued I am by the palette of others….

–TJA, March 28th, 2011

Artist / NotesPaletteSource
As described by one of Carolus-Duran's students; presumably Sargent learned with a similar palette.
The colours being placed on the palette in this order from left to right.
  1. Black
  2. Verte émeraude
  3. Raw Umber
  4. Cobalt
  5. Laquc Ordinaire
  6. Brun Rouge or Light Red
  7. Yellow Ochre
  8. White
A Manual of Oil Painting by the Hon. John Collier published in 1887
John F. Carlson
He recommends a total of 12 colors, and for each color, picking only one when given the option.
Order on the palette, left to right:
Green Blue, Violet Blue, Green, Red Brown, Dark Red, Medium Red, Brilliant Red, Dark Yellow, Medium Yellow, Light Yellow, Black, White.
  1. Light Yellow: Cadmium Light or Lemon
  2. Medium Yellow: Cadmium, medium
  3. Dark Yellow: Yellow Ochre, Transparent Gold Ochre or Raw Sienna
  4. Brilliant Red: Cadmium Red, Light
  5. Medium Red: Indian Red
  6. Dark Red: Rose Madder and Alizarine Crimson
  7. Red-Brown: Burnt Sienna
  8. Green: Viridian
  9. Violet Blue: Cobalt, Ultramarine or Permanent
  10. Green Blue: Prussian Blue
  11. Black: Ivory or Lampblack
  12. White: Titanium, Lead or Zinc
Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson 1929.
PADASOR Core Palette
All colors indicated are Michael Harding.
  1. Flake White
  2. Ivory Black
  3. Vermilion (or substitute: Cadmium Red)
  4. Crimson Lake
  5. Transparent Oxide Red
  6. Yellow Ochre
  7. Burnt Umber
  8. Raw Umber
  9. Red Umber
  10. Lapis Lazuli (or Ultramarine Blue)
Called to my attention by Classicist colleague Prof. Paul Gwynne in the Spring of 2011
Video documentary on Titian's colors and techniqueBBC
I outlined this in detail on The Painting and Drawing Art Studio of Rome website. In the outline I suggest modern substitutes/paint-makers for his colors.
The Palette of VelazquezVelazquez – The Technique of Genius by Brown, Jonathan; Garrison, Carmen; Yale University Press, 2003

2 replies
  1. Nancy Lopez
    Nancy Lopez says:

    Love your web page Im starting on oil painting very interesting on the Masters continuity, Congrat!!!!

  2. Patrice Celeste
    Patrice Celeste says:

    Love your site. Very informative, nicely designed. Love all the information and your insight. Hope to see more.

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