22 September 2016

My Palette

I had often been asked about the palette I use, so I decided to make a post on it.

My gouache palette

I prefer a large palette of colors, but I have used a limited palette of 7 colors years ago and if you are a beginner I would strongly suggest you start with the limited palette I find the best:

  1. Cadmium yellow lemon (cool yellow)
  2. Cadmium yellow light (warm yellow)
  3. Cadmium Red Medium (warm red)
  4. Alizarin Crimson (cool red)
  5. Quinacridone Rose (cool red)
  6. Ultramarine Blue (warm blue)
  7. Phthalo Blue green shade (cool blue)

and Titanium White.

With these colors you can mix ANY color you may need. It is easy if you understand the color theory.  When you mix your colors with confidence using a limited palette you can start adding other colors to the palette. They will just help you to work faster. As I work mostly outdoors I have to paint and mix colors fast. That is why my palette is so large. Some of the colors I rarely use but for some reason I like to have them on the palette.

Here is my palette:

  1. Payne's Grey (Rembrandt. I use it only for grey skies)
  2. Raw Umber (W&N or Rembrandt)
  3. Raw Sienna (W&N or Rembrandt)
  4. Yellow Ochre Pale (W&N),
  5. Cadmium Yellow Lemon (W&N or Rembrandt)
  6. Cadmium Yellow Light (W&N or Rembrandt)
  7. Cadmium Orange (W&N or Rembrandt)
  8. Cadmium Red Light (Rembrandt)
  9. Permanent Rose (Rembrandt) - quinacridone rose
  10. Perm. Alizarin Crimson (Rembrandt)
  11. Burnt Sienna (W&N or Rembrandt)
  12. Burnt Umber (W&N or Rembrandt)
  13. English Red (W&N or Rembrandt) - red ochre
  14. Perm. Violet Medium (Rembrandt)
  15. Permanent Mauve (W&N)
  16. French Ultramarine (W&N or Rembrandt)
  17. Cobalt Blue (W&N or Rembrandt)
  18. Kings Blue (Rembrandt. This color is just a mixture of cobalt blue and titanium white)
  19. Cerulean Blue (W&N. Weak and expensive. I use it more often in skin tones, than in landscapes)
  20. Sevres Blue (Rembrandt. Basically it is Phthalo Blue Light. I rarely put in on the palette, but it is always with me in case I need to mix some really bright light blues.)
  21. Cobalt Turquoise (Rembrandt)
  22. Cobalt Turquoise Light (W&N)
  23. Viridian (Rembrandt)
  24. Chromium Oxide Green (Rembrandt) - sometimes
  25. Green Earth (W&N) - sometimes
  26. Permanent Green Medium (Rembrandt)
  27. Permanent Green Light (Rembrandt)
  28. Titanium White (Sennelier, W&N or Rembrandt)

My oil palette


  1. Obrigado pelas dicas. Também já sigo a Carol Marine à algum tempo. Adoro o livro dela "Painting a day"

  2. Lena, já agora, uma curiosidade. O que faz com as tintas que não usou na palete? Guarda? Mantém no frigorífico/água ou simplesmente desiste delas ? Obrigado.

    1. Não me preocupo com isso. Eu posso pintar um quandro pequeno dia a seguir, mas até se o resto das tinhas se estraga tambem não faz mal, porque eu normalmente não ponho muita tinha na palette.. Eu pinto muito, ma as minhas tintas não se gastam rapidamente. Um tubo da para muito tempo.

  3. Hi Lena.Thank you for posting all your videos and for your wonderful paintings.I am just beginning to paint in oils after painting for a few years in watercolours and find your videos are a great help.I live in Ireland and have just discovered that you were here last year teaching😞Just my luck !! I have watching Arrabida Paradise and am wondering could I ask you please what do you use to thin your paint when putting in the first layers?Thank you

    1. Hi Larry. I am glad you found my videos helpful! I use 3 parts of turpentine and 1 part of glossy artistic varnish from W&N to thin my paint. Varnish in this thinner alows my first layers to dry more quickly so that I can paint over them creating different textures. Your country is very beautiful. I really enjoyed painting there. I especially liked the seaside and the flowers! I wish you good luck in learning oil painting. Strong tonal relationships of big shapes are crucial in this technique.

  4. Hello from Canada,
    Was wondering how I can find out about your workshops in Portugal or elsewhere in Europe. We are planning to visit Portugal next November.

    1. Hi!

      I love Canada! Even thought I have never been there... Yet.

      I am not going to give any workshops this year... Instead I am going to concentrate on production of digital tutorials. I hope it doesn't take too long to be done.. Any updates will be published on this blog. Stay tuned ;) Best wishes, Lena

  5. Hi from England! Like many others, I wish to THANK YOU for sharing your work and techniques! You are a great inspiration to many people and for me, I particularly enjoy your Gouache works. I am going to try some this weekend while on a short break in beautiful Kirkby Lonsdale :-)

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Tom!! I am glad to hear that my work inspires you. Hopefully I will come up with a gouache painting tutorial soon. I have been working on it lately. When it is ready I will publish it on my YouTube channel. I hope you have a great painting weekend Kirkby Lonsdale!

  6. Спасибо большое!

  7. Hi, Thanks for sharing your works.