My five favourite colours – part 1

Well, this is a pretty obvious favourites choice. It is a common question, what is your favourite colour? I usually say that I don’t have a clue, there are so many to choose from and to be honest a single colour is useless without other colours to work with and depending upon the lighting and the colours around it, it can completely change into another colour simply through perception. Colour is a ever changing concept.

However, one way to tie it all down is to think of what paints are my favourites. That makes it easier because all painters have their favourites that they prefer to work with. I figured I could pick five of those, so here they are in no particular order.

Phthalo turquoise

I have no doubt that anyone who hangs around my blogosphere long enough will hear me raving about Southern Ocean Blue. So here is a couple of snapshots of that gorgeous colour and all its variations.

Point Avoid, Coffin Bay National Park

Point Avoid, Coffin Bay National Park, South Australia


Waitpinga Beach

Waitpinga Beach, South Australia


waitpinga wave

Waitpinga wave


Waitpinga Wave close up

Waitpinga Wave close up

Okay, technically speaking this is quite a range of colours, from a deep blue through to an aqua green light with even a hint of sand, but as I said before, it is really hard to separate out a single colour. Also, I know it is ocean, and ocean can be beautiful in any part of the world (I hear that the Greek Isles have better coloured water than we do ::eyes them suspiciously:: Hmm….so I’m a little biased πŸ˜› ).

Anyways, in paint, the colour I would go to for this is Phthalocyanine Turquoise (good luck with pronouncing that). Matisse Paints offer it as Southern Ocean Blue as they are Australian and as biased as I am πŸ˜€ The colour is created with a mixture of Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green pigments (PB15.3 and PG7). Golden Paints offers Turquoise (Phthalo), with a slightly different mixture of PB15:1 and PG7.

Note on paint colour matching: If you need to match paint colours across brands, it works fairly well with single pigment colours – each professional paint should have the pigment used written of the side of the tube or bottle (letters and numbers – P = Pigment, B = blue for example, plus a number of the specific pigment), these are standardised pigment numbers – with mixtures the colours can vary. There is also the issue of binders as well. Experiment with a change in brand before using directly onto a piece of art. If you are interested in further information about individual pigment numbers, a list can be found here, and suppliers will often provide a specific list for their own products.

phthalo turquoise


Cadmium Orange

I used to shy away from the cadmium range of paints simply because they are poisonous. Now I can’t paint without them. Cadmium Orange in particular is a staple. it is the brightest orange on the market and while the other oranges like Pyrrole Orange and vermillion have their uses, none are as brilliant as Cadmium Orange. I have posted in the past specifically about cadmium and its origins, but I didn’t mention the orange so much, so here is my shout out for this gorgeous colour.

Orange is fabulous as a underpainting colour for any subject with any large amount of blue. This is the underpainting of Pen (a favourite of mine I mentioned a few posts back), you can find the full parade of work-in-progress shots in her post, but if you look at the final piece here, you can see the hints of orange give the Payne’s Grey (a very dark grey blue) much more energy.

Pen by Liz Powley

Pen, acrylic on canvas, 400x300mm. Commissioned & SOLD

I used Cadmium Orange as the underpainting for my blue wren (mentioned in yesterday’s post), which is why I found it so hard to work out how to get that colour balance when I painted the same wren in watercolour because you can’t do much of an underpainting in watercolour (more watercolour adventures coming in the future).

Cadmium Orange is one of the more expensive pigments, but it is worth it. It is poisonous, so act accordingly when using it (not like I do and get it everywhere). Some paint suppliers will substitute it with a hue to avoid the poison factor (if a paint has a label that says ‘hue’ it means it is not a pure pigment and is often a mixture or substitute). Cadmium Orange can be identified by colour index name PO20. Oh, and if anyone claims that acrylic paints are all totally safe, they are dreaming. Don’t eat while painting, or use your coffee mug as a water jug.

cadmium orange


And I’m going to have to cut it short there. I hurt my back early in the week and sitting or pretty much doing anything for any length of time is not comfortable, so I’m afraid that we only get two out of five this week, but I promise to post the other three next week.

Turquoise and Orange are almost opposites and work very well together if used correctly in one painting. I thoroughly recommend playing with them to see what you can do with them.

Even though this is just two out of five, I am still going to share it with Willy Nilly Friday Five and Five on Friday, so don’t forget to go visit them and see what everyone has been up to. EDIT: And I’ve just discovered Orange you Glad it’s Friday blog hop, so I’m adding this there as it is kinda appropriate πŸ˜€ So drop in over there and discover the wonders of Orange πŸ˜€

Art Always!

Best wishes,
(going to go lie down, ouch)

Post continued here.