View Full Version : Beginner: Picking a palette with 200ml tubes?

02-23-2019, 07:16 PM

after a very long hiatus in drawing/painting, I've decided to pick the hobby up again.

This past month I've been putting together a potential palette (and yes, that included using the search function here. A lot. ;-)).

Since I'm still learning and still need to discover where I want to go with painting, I want something that can guide me through anything I'd possibly want to paint.
I also want a large palette because I like colour!! Last time I felt pretty miserable having only 3 colours to work with.
While I won't use every colour in one painting, I like knowing I have that option.

Palette-wise I want to be able to experiment with different palettes within this big one.
Painting-wise I want the palette to be versatile enough to grow with me
(as in, I can't really draw right now, so I predict that the first few months most of my stuff will be colour studies/testing limited palettes/abstract/bright stuff...
but as my skills develop I will definitely want to try my hand at realism/still life and natural landscapes).

I have "new art supplies" fear. Especially when I only have a tiny amount of something, I feel like I need to be stingy.
So I would like to throw in some 200ml tubes, so I can experiment freely with those (either as a warm up, or to do colour studies/technique studies etc.) without feeling too bad.

I just can't figure out which of the below colours would be most versatile to warrant a big tube?

This is the complete palette I was thinking of:

WN - Titanium White
WN - Winsor Lemon
(Rembrandt Cad. Yellow Light which I already own)
WN - Winsor Yellow
WN - Yellow Ocher Pale
Lukas 1862 - Cad. Orange - because it's cheaper than WN
Lukas 1862 - Cad. Red light
WN - Bright Red
WN - Permanent Rose
WN - Winsor Violet (Dioxazine)
Schmincke Norma - Cerulean
WN - French Ultramarine
WN - Winsor blue gs (phtalo blue green shade)
WN - Winsor green (blue shade) (phtalo green)
WN - Burnt Sienna
WN - Burnt Umber
WN - Lamp or Ivory black (maybe, not sure yet)

(these are the best brands I can afford at the moment and I feel this is the best fit for me skills-wise,
since 80-90% of what I'll paint with these will be practice/for fun pieces on parchment paper or gessoed paper.
So williamsburg etc. would be completely wasted on me.)

Would something like

Titanium White,
Winsor Yellow,
Permanent Rose,
French Ultramarine,

work for the 200ml tubes? (for clean/bright mixes? I mean, I can always muddy them with a blip of the other colours). Or should I swap the Ultramarine for Pthalo blue (and then, red or green shade)? Or...

02-23-2019, 07:25 PM
I would think titanium white, a middle yellow, and blue would warrant a large tube. Possibly, red if you use it a lot. I would go for a small tube of black unless you use a lot as they go a long way (you can also mix your own black from ultramarine/umber or phthalo green/quin. rose).

Wintons are ok, for student type grade I also like Maimeri Classico. You can also check out the Jackson's artist oils. I also buy the 60ml Michael Hardings for series 1 and 2 (otherwise they are very expensive).

02-23-2019, 08:51 PM
Aside from a tube of white, I can't imagine buying 200 ml tubes until I have tried various palette options with the smallest, cheapest tubes I can get. Only with experience would I know which colors I would then use the most, which are the strongest tinters, or which I would use just for accents or highlights, etc., to warrant buying 200 ml tubes. But that's just me.

It also depends on your subject matter. Are you paintings landscapes? Figures & portraits? Florals?


02-23-2019, 09:29 PM
Overcome your worries about using paint by buying a few big tubes of Winton or Van Gogh paints. The latter of which is a personal favorite for big cheap tubes of wonderful paints to do studies in. Lukas 1862 are a good value as well, though not as nice as the Van Goghs to me.

A big tube of a Burnt Sienna would not be wasted in any range though, it is commonly used and with Rose, Ultramarine Blue, and Yellow provide excellent color mixing potential.

02-25-2019, 02:01 PM
Consider a tube of Prussian Blue, it is very powerful blue, and tiny amounts is all you need.

02-25-2019, 04:02 PM
Note what Humbaba says above, Prussian is my favorite blue currently available on the market. It is almost always a color on my palette, a very magical color with a great deal of potential.

Ted Bunker
02-26-2019, 06:58 AM
Titanium White,
Winsor Yellow,
Permanent Rose,
French Ultramarine,

I would add Burnt Umber ... and if you're doing landscapes Prussian Blue or one of the greens; Chrome Oxide, Permanent Green or Sap. Depending on your choice of color hue-wheel model, Yellow and Ultramarine are neatly-opposite in hue making greens difficult to control without a blue-green or a true green. Burnt Umber is a low-chroma orange and combines with Ultramarine for a dark neutral. Plus, Burnt Umber is faster drying and useful for underpainting and notan studies. Some of the Roman academies before WW1 limited their first-year students to just Burnt Umber and White to learn technique and values. With a backup battery of smaller tubes in the more diverse hues you should be well prepared for strong, clean accents.

Personally I'm a believer in form and value as a strong framework; being able to mix warm and cool grays and use graduated neutrals. Many studies fail due to being too high-chroma and poor control of value in the light and shadows.