My Favourite Colour Mixes

Colour Mixing

In the main, my palette consists of the following:

French Ultramarine

Alizarin Crimson

Burnt Sienna

Burnt umber

Payne’s Gray

Cerulean Blue

Quinacridone Gold



Skin Tones

A base of Burnt Sienna, add a touch of Alizarin Crimson and tone it down with Burnt Umber. Add LOTS of water and you have a skin tone wash.

English Rose complexion – add more Alizarin Crimson and use it very thinly.

Asian complexion – add a little Yellow Ochre to the mix.

African complexion – add more Burnt Umber.

To darken the mix for the shadows on the skin, add French Ultramarine.




Always remember that the colour of the sky fades as it touches the horizon, it will be richer and darker in colour as it rises up to the zenith.

For a Summer Sky:

Zenith – French Ultramarine

Middle sky – Cerulean Blue

Horizon –  Naples Yellow,

Winter Sky

A wash of Raw Sienna and add clouds made of a mix of French Ultramarine and BurntUumber.

Night Sky

 A good thick mix of Payne’s Gray and Indigo.

If you want to portray a “Moody”, perhaps snowy sky (think of dusk on a winter’s afternoon when you know the snow will fall as it gets dark…….)

Use a Naples Yellow wash on the horizon.



Evening Sky

 (With the purple night clouds gathering before it gets dark)

French Ultramarine and Light Red.

Distant Hills and Fields

French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow with a touch of Alizarin Crimson.

A Good Grey

French Ultramarine and Burnt Umber



Bark on a Silver Birch Tree

Cerulean Blue with Burnt Umber. This is also a colour I like to use for my moons or for moody water.

Quinacridone Gold is a very useful colour.

Use it to make a beautiful forest green. Just add French Ultramarine. It makes you think of the sharp new acid green of the leaves on the trees when the bluebells are just starting to flower.

For the darkest green found in the depths underneath the waves, mix it with Prussian


Mixed with Scarlet Lake it produces a stunning orange……think Marigolds!

Stunning Purples:

Indigo and Alizarin Crimson

French ultramarine and Alizarin crimson (gentle and pinker in hue).

Remember, if you are using Payne’s Gray, ALWAYS use the artists Colour. It has a wonderful blue base and isn’t simply just the dull flat dead grey of the Students Colour.