Thursday 28 August 2014

Colour exploration - Super bright 6 colour palettes - updated.

Once again I have been exploring palettes with no earth colours but this time using neutralising pairs. Here are a couple of gorgeous bright palettes to consider. 

The first is based on my gorgeous bright quartet, posted here, that contains DS Hansa Yellow Medium, DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange,  S Purple Magenta (or use DS Quinacridone Lilac) and DS Phthalo Blue RS. The Red Shade of Phthalo Blue neutralises completely with Transparent Pyrrol Orange to create a black. (2020 update - Transparent Pyrrol Orange is now mid orange rather than a red-orange.)

Here in this set I have switched to Phthalo Blue GS. I have added Phthalo Green YS PG36 which neutralises purple magenta to a grey, though not a black. I have also added  Carbazole Violet which neutralises Hansa Yellow Medium to create yellow earth hues and raw umber hues. So the palette contains one of each primary and one of each secondary in neutralising pairs. They are quite neatly arranged around the colour wheel, though not completely evenly. All are Daniel Smith watercolours except the Schmincke Purple Magenta.

Super bright 6 colour palettes
The second set switches Purple magenta to Carmine (or better yet a crimson such as Pyrrol Crimson or Permanent Alizarin). This will neutralise with phthalo green BS to a black and a whole range of lovely aubergine and plum colours. That combination is why I tend to have a crimson in my palette. Ultramarine is my favourite blue for painting and is completely neutralised by the orange as seen here. The yellow and purple neutralise each other as noted above. (see these and other neutralising pairs here.) Notice how evenly the colours fit around the colour wheel. I think this would be the brightest, most balanced 6 colour set I could find. See this star set of colours on the full colour wheel here. All are Daniel Smith watercolours except the Benzimida Orange Deep, which is Da Vinci (sorry it is actually PO36 not PO71 as labelled). (W&N and QoR also make gorgeous transparent/translucent oranges of a similar hue using PO71, or DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange could be used as it is now (2020) a mid orange.)


  1. Pyrrol Orange PO71 is now called Translucent Orange and the color looks as juicy as can be. Daniel Smith now carries PO71 but its redder looking and not near as beautiful.

    1. Renee the differences between brands using the same pigment is really quite confusing. I note I did not include the brand which I will fix. The Transparent Pyrrol Orange mentioned above is Daniel Smith. PO71 is found in W&N Transparent Orange, Schmincke Translucent Orange and QoR Transparent Orange. These are all gorgeous mid oranges. It is also found in DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange which is a completely different warm red-orange rather than a mid orange. (I use it as my warm red!) It is closer in hue to SQ Vermilion made with PO73. You can see all these oranges compared here - - in the single pigment oranges section.

  2. The series on this palette is quite interesting. to me it seems very similar to the Secondary Palette on Except you seem to have a much more practical approach which is much more useful! Thanks