Portrait Palette Selection

There are a many suggestions for what oil colours to choose to start portrait painting, so although I’m no expert I have chosen these colours to see if I can achieve the various skin colours I could need. I would recommend buying the best quality you can afford, not only because the colours are superior but the texture of the paint makes it much nicer to mix and use from the brush. Here we go;

Flake or Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Terra Rosa, Alizarin Crimson, Green Umber, Raw Umber, French Ultramarine and Blue Black.

Mix with Pure Linseed Oil and Turpentine or White Spirit.

I do use paper palettes as they can easily be disposed of at the end of the day or a I use a small sheet of glass with edges protected with masking tape as my palette, easy to scrape down at the end of the day and clean with white spirit. NB.It can also be placed on a mid tone grey sheet to help mix the value of paint.

Good quality canvas, cotton or linen is desirable but not essential, student quality are good and great to begin with and not worried if you have a rougher final feel to your painting. I like the smoother surface of cotton and linen, especially when it comes to the final details. The smooth surface of prepared boards are also excellent for detailed portrait painting.

Recommended art suppliers and advice can be found on our links page.

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