My Palette

From time to time I get asked about the things I  use,  and,  while this is not a complete list,  it does cover most of the basics.


I  arrange my palette in a circle,  like a color wheel:

  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • Phthalo Green
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Dioxazine Purple (Grumbacher)
  • Alizarin Permanent (Gamblin)
  • Cadmium Red Medium
  • Titanium White
  • O.M.S.
  • Medium – (2/3) Stand oil + ( 1/3) O.M.S


I use Winsor & Newton,  Rembrandt,  or Utrecht paints unless otherwise noted above.  From these colors I can easily mix a full,  twelve-color palette,  but I rarely use the full set– sometimes limiting myself to maybe just four colors plus white.   I occasionally  use a couple of convenience colors like Yellow Ochre or Raw Sienna if the painting doesn’t call for a really bright yellow.  Winsor &  Newton’s Permanent Rose is also a nice color that produces some mixes that Gamblin’s Alizarin Permanent cannot.  I also save my palette scrapings for grey piles.  The painting medium’s portions aren’t set in stone either –  I usually just add enough Odorless Mineral Spirits  to loosen the stand oil up a bit.



  • Hog Bristles – flats and filberts, sizes 2-12 (usually Robert Simmon’s Signets)
  • Winsor & Newton Monarchs – Extra Long Filberts
  • Rigger and a few watercolor sables for detail
  • Inexpensive hardware store  bristle brushes,  1″ – 3″ — these are sometimes called “chip” brushes
  • Lint-free rags for wiping out areas — usually in the underpainting

The chip brushes and rags are great for the block-in and under-painting portion of the piece.



  • Fredrix Red Lion – style 1059
  • Fredrix Ultrasmooth – style 1098
  • Medium weight cotton duck

The Fredrix Red Lion and Ultrasmooth are polyester-based and great to work on.



My paintings are fairly thick, so I wait about a year to varnish them.  Liquitex Soluvar is really good looking stuff and very easy to apply.  I’ve found that a mix of about 1/3 gloss,  1/3 matte, and 1/3 mineral spirits looks good without being overly glossy.