My Basic Palette 2022


Above are my basic building block colors:

  • Sepia
  • Imidazalone Brown 
  • Greenish Yellow (aka Green Gold)
  • Quinacridone Gold
  • Cool Grey
  • Paynes Grey
  • Titanium white
  • Mars Black

I like two yellows, two reds, two blues:

  • Pyrrole Red
  • Quinacridone Magenta 
  • Hansa Yellow
  • Nickel Azo Yellow OR Indian Yellow
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue  
  • Prussian Blue (okay, three blues)

Additional colors to expand your palette:

  • Teal or Turquoise 
  • Luminous Opera (Holbein makes the ONLY fluorescent pink worth your money)
  • Mauve
  • Pyrrole Orange
  • (Not shown, Yellow Ochre. Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium white and a dot of black make one heck of a Cezanne Grey.)

Cezanne's 19 color palette


Avoid buying sets. I find them to be a waste of money (for me) because I don't use cadmiums, chromiums or cobalts.

If you can afford it, buy the good stuff. It is well worth the investment as you will get cleaner color mixes in a broad range. (This translates to time and money saved.) 

My preference, for what I do, is heavy body acrylic.

If you buy a good quality acrylic (Holbein, Sennelier, Golden), you can mix them with either gloss or matte medium (or even gloss or matte GEL medium.) This will extend the amount of paint that you have without losing quality. Do NOT buy what they label extender as this extends the drying time. You do NOT want that! When I started out, I did this. I mixed a little at a time and what it does is, it gives you more paint for less money. (You do not have to do this though. You can use the paint right out of the tube/jar.  It is just an idea that can be good to make expensive paint go further. It also doesn't break the pigment down like extending it with water will. )

Utrecht Artists' Acrylic (NOT student grade) has some basic colors that are good.

My favorite brand is Holbein. (I also use Sennelier as well as Golden.)

If you are on a budget and are limited to picking up select colors at a time, these are the colors I would start with:

1. Titanium white-Buy a bigger tube or jar. I use white more than anything else. I usually buy it by the jar but that's me.

2. Paynes Grey

3. Pyrrole red

4. Hansa yellow 

5. Phthalo blue

Additional optional colors:

Going back in time, I wish I had started with two yellows, two blues, two reds... and a couple of other colors. I like the two color palette (one light yellow, one dark yellow, etc...) With those colors, you can mix and make anything!

1. Quinacridone Magenta

2. Indian yellow

3. Ultramarine blue

4. Quinacridone Gold or Nickel Azo Gold

Additional splurges (colors I use a lot and it's easier to buy the tube or they don't come any other way):

1. Green gold (aka greenish yellow)

2. Luminous opera (Holbein)

3. Turquoise 

4. Purple (either Mauve from Holbein or permanent violet dark from Sennelier)

More art tips can be found here.

My latest online workshop is called The Art Life. I'll share information, tips, techniques, ideas and much, much more there on an ongoing basis. It's a class (with all demo material recorded), a resource library, community and patron project. Find more here.


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