Thursday, July 26, 2012

Daniel E Greene palette

From the excellent Underpaintings


MAIN COLORS (outer edge)

1. Flake White*
2. Ivory Black
3. Prussian Blue
4. Raw Sienna
5. Yellow Ochre
6. Naples Yellow
7. Cadmium Yellow Medium
8. Cadmium Red Light
9. Alizarin Crimson
10. Burnt Sienna
11. Raw Umber
12. Burnt Umber
13. Sap Green
14. Pthalo Green

* Greene advises choosing a white that best suits the needs of the artist and the painting.  According to him, whites should be considered either slow-drying (like Zinc White) or fast-drying (Flake White).  Greene uses Flake White (Lead Carbonate) because it dries rapidly and leaves crisp brushstrokes, but to many artists, Flake White is too stiff for comfortable use.  To these artists, Greene recommends adding another white, such as Zinc, Titanium, or Permalba®, to the Flake White (¾ Flake White + ¼ other white).  This mixture will be easier to manipulate.

SKIN-TONE TINTS (color strings - center of palette)

A. Raw Sienna + Cadmium Red Light + White
Add just enough Raw Sienna to the Cadmium Red Light to dull the latter, then add White in steps to create a value string.  These middle tones and lights are useful in cheeks, mouth, chin, ears, etc..
B. Yellow Ochre + White
Add White to Yellow Ochre to create a value string.  The lightest two tints are often used as highlights on the forehead and nose.
C. Yellow Ochre + Burnt Sienna + White
Mix Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna together with this understanding:  too much Burnt Sienna will produce a color which too closely resembles the mixture of Burnt Sienna and White;  too little Burnt Sienna will too closely resemble Yellow Ochre and White.  Find the perfect balance.
D. Burnt Sienna + White
Add White to Burnt Sienna in steps to create a value string.  This mixture is not often used.
E. Raw Umber + White
Add White to Raw Umber in steps to create a value string.  Though the darker tints might be used as shadows, the middle tones and lights are intended for use as "cool" skin tones.
F. Raw Sienna + Black + White
Mix ⅔ Black with ⅓ Raw Sienna, then add White in steps to create a value string.

SHADOW TONES (lower right)

S1. Alizarin Crimson + Sap Green
Mix Alizarin Crimson with very little Sap Green to make a dark reddish brown.  Add Cadmium Yellow Medium in steps to create a value string.
S2. Sap Green + Alizarin Crimson
To Sap Green add a little Alizarin Crimson to create a dark greenish brown (Sepia).  Add Cadmium Yellow Medium in steps to create a value string.
(These four colors are based on those used by 17th c. Dutch Artists)
a. Raw Umber + Yellow Ochre
Mix very little Yellow Ochre with Raw Umber so that the latter is slightly lightened.
b. Raw Umber + Yellow Ochre + Yellow Ochre
Add more Yellow Ochre to the previous mixture to lighten it another value step.
c. Raw Umber + Yellow Ochre + Burnt Sienna
Create a mixture where all three colors are distributed equally (i.e. ⅓ Raw Umber, ⅓ Yellow Ochre, and ⅓ Burnt Sienna).
d. Raw Umber + Yellow Ochre + Burnt Sienna + Yellow Ochre
To the previous mixture, add more Yellow Ochre so that the amount of Yellow Ochre has been doubled  (i.e. ¼ Raw Umber, ¼ Burnt Sienna, and ½ Yellow Ochre)


  1. Thank you. Can't seem to change my ID here but am an artist who was blessed to be able to study with Daniel Greene. I learned more about color from him than four years in a top art school. Every artist should learn to work with this pallet. It took my paintings to a whole new level.

  2. I found found this palette extremely useful versatile and use it with my students. I incorporated cobalt as it works great with the burnt Siena to obtain grey backgrounds and use in shadow mixes to obtain unity.
    Only one point I think mix F is incorrect ratios. Shouldn't the Raw Siena be 2/3 and black 1/3?

  3. I have been struggling trying to make flesh tones. This is a power palette.

  4. Great oil paint palette advice. Thank you.

  5. Do you know what colors he uses to tone his palette? He said in a video brownish green cool???


Search This Blog