Painting Matters & Material Lists

Materials List and some Colour Info for Barnoldswick Library Painting Class

Colour Mixing
Some General info regarding materials used in our Monday painting class at Barnoldswick Library
Six Suggested Colours to Start With are as follows:

The three primary colours that I use for landscape painting are:

Ultramarine Blue

Cadmium Yellow

Light Red

To this group of three I add:

Burnt Umber (mixed with ultramarine it gives lovely near black)

Raw Sienna (amazing for sunsets and for reducing the intensity of colours. This colour does not go green easily when mixed with blue, hence its usefulness in sunsets)

And one last colour which is Cadmium Red. I add this colour for everyone who likes to paint flowers. Its also useful for poppies in fields or gardens when painting a summer landscape. You just do not get the same intensity using Light Red for bright flowers.

Colours you can add are:

Pthalo/Intense/Windsor Blue - Its all the same colour and produces a very strong blue. Good for skies, water and makes some great dark greens.

Payne’s Grey - a bit of a cheat but good for clouds and for darkening Pthalo Blue to make dark greys with Burnt Sienna.

Alizarin Crimson - Add to Payne’s Grey for effective clouds.

Yellow Ochre - Gives some good subdued greens.

Lemon Yellow - Mix acid Greens.

Burnt Sienna - Goes well with Pthalo Blue

Colour Groups:

A quick word about basic groups of colours that work well together.

My standard landscape group is Ultramarine Blue, a yellow such as Cadmium Yellow, Gamboge or Aureolin and Light Red.

An alternative group is Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre and Alizarin Crimson.

A much harder group to work with but one that gives some very nice results is Pthalo Blue, Lemon Yellow and Light Red. You can substitute any yellow. Light red helps to adjust the blue so that you get nice dark

Tonal Painting:

One way to get to grips with tone (that is the darkness or lightness of a colour) is to paint a monochrome painting. That is just paint in one colour but chose a colour that has a wide tonal range. Good colours for this type of approach are Payne’s Gray, Sepia or Burnt Umber. Colours, like Lemon Yellow, which only have a
small tonal range are totally unsuitable for this style of painting.

Student Colours v Artist Quality Colours:

Always a thorny subject among artists - just look through the many “how to paint” books and you will see how artist’s opinions differ. Even among different books by the same artist!

Well my opinion is that :
1 - The colour should be permanent and not fade.
2 - Single pigments are always better than concoctions of pigments as this way you are less likely to mix mud.
3 - For student use its always better to have more colour to play about with than be scrimping around with bits of paint because it is horrendously expensive. Painting does not need to cost the earth.

Well for my professional work I use artist quality colours. If I am charging someone for a painting I owe it to them to paint the painting with the best materials available (as well as the most suitable).

Winsor & Newton Cotman colours are now good permanent colours, many of the older colours were poor regarding light fastness. Many of the new colours are single pigment colours. These are the ones that I suggest for student use at home as many of the pigments used are the same as the pigments used in the artist quality range of paints. The substituted pigments tend to be the cadmium's where the student colours substitute a cheaper alternative (but it is still light fast) pigment. You can use lots of paint without fear of breaking the bank.

At the end of the day the choice is up to you and your wallet but you will struggle to see the difference and so will your great grandchildren when they look at your work.

The image contains a brief colour mixing chart and is painted using the six suggested colours
mentioned at the start of this document.

Try to produce your own colour chart using your own colours. Experiment on a piece of cartridge paper - that is what these colour charts were painted on. Don’t stop there either if you want to explore your colours do a
quick sketch on cartridge and then colour it in with a wash, you will be surprised at the results.