Artists Palette


One of the most essential skills for an artist is knowing how to mix colours. A lot of beginners struggle with this and get lost. So their colour becomes mud.

Sound familiar?

This is why as part of the Moore Method of Painting we start with three colours for beginners:

– Blue
– Red
– Yellow

When you limit your palette to just these three primary colours you have no choice but to learn how to mix your secondary and tertiary colours. This skill is a foundation skill of all good artists.

The Moore Method is effective for beginners because it reduces the amount of options you have to mix on your palette. The average beginner goes into an art supply store and randomly selects colours without fully understanding how to use them, how to mix them, what to mix them with, and when to use them.

Confusion and frustration is usually the result. Muddy colours often wind up being on your palette and end up on your canvas. If this is a problem for you then go back to a simple palette.

In the process of learning how to mix colour you want to understand:

– Hue
– Saturation
– Values
– Temperature

Applying these ideas to your basic palette will automatically make you a better painter and your paintings will start to take on a more unified cohesive look about them.

As you progress you can then add to your palette. But what to add I hear you ask?

For a more experienced artist who knows who to mix paint and understands the above concepts you then want to progress to a palette that has:

– Warm Blue
– Warm Red
– Warm Yellow

– Cool Blue
– Cool Red
– Cool Yellow

Expanding your palette in this manner gives you unlimited possibilities.

The next logical question then is what blue, red and yellow should I use in my basic palette?

Well that depends on what you are painting primarily.

At Moore Art School I recommend a palette that lends itself to painting landscapes and seascapes:

– Ultramarine Blue
– Alizarin Crimson
– Yellow Ochre

The blue and yellow in this palette are warmer and the red cooler.

This palette is ideal for landscapes as it allows you to paint a muted grey tone to the landscape (which is what it mostly is) and then punch up the colours for the focal point.

So if you are starting out, or been painting awhile and wanting to improve, then I can not stress enough the importance of learning about colours, how to mix them, and how to use the concepts of saturation, temperature etc to maximum effect.

I am thinking about creating a small course that talks about all of this … if there is enough interest.

Is this something you would be interested in? If so please leave a YES in the comments so I know you are interested. If there is enough interest I will get to work on creating the course.

19 replies
  1. Maria Morphopoulos
    Maria Morphopoulos says:

    Thanks for the introduction to colour and mixing. Definitely yes. I still find it difficult to comprehend the “cool” and “warm” colours – red appears automatically hot to me and blue appears cold, but I suppose you have to overcome the general associations with these colours and look at the overall picture.

  2. Mandy
    Mandy says:

    Yes please. Just completed my first painting in your starter 5 day painting and found colour mixing challenging. Have also purchased your full course offered last week and looking forward to progressing. Thank you


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