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What are your Favourite Colour Combinations?


One of my artist friends, Sea Dean, posed the question "If you had to choose just two colors what would they be and why?" But it was not as simple as saying blue and yellow, of course she wanted more detail - exactly what shades, which brand etc.

This got me thinking. I use a lot of colour in my paintings but my palette has evolved to always having cadmium yellow medium, ultramarine blue, winsor blue, dioxazine violet and alazarin crimson and often viridian squeezed onto the palette. These basic colours provide me with combinations that suit the Provence landscape. I add yellow ochre pale for some buildings, rocks and pathways and also use other colours as required. I use winsor and Newton oil paints as the consistency is right for me for both palette knife and brush.

I can't say that I have two favourites but there are certain combinations I love and here are two:

Pale purple and green/turquoise
This painting is based on the shimmering combination of the violet and turquoise


For the pale purple I mix diox purple with white, sometimes adding a touch of pink (permanent rose or al. crimson with white) or a touch of pale winsor blue depending upon the temperature I am trying to achieve. For the green turquoise I will mix a combination of phthalo blue, lemon yellow, white and often viridian and winsor blue to get the correct colour.

Yellow and purple
This combination is difficult to pull off because they are both such vibrant colours. It is important to make one of them more dominant than the other. In this painting the purple dominates but the yellow is the star


Of course the yellow doesn't need to be vibrant, the combination works just as well with purple and yellow ochre


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The best way to do this is at the beginning of a painting is using gesso or modeling paste. You can also use these on an in-progress painting but, as they are opaque, you will lose any colour already down.

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Use thick paint for the best results and wait for the paint to touch dry before adding another layer. I like to wait until the top layer is just touch dry before dragging the scaper through the paint. The effects are different according to how dry the paint is. Practice this to see the different effects. The wet paint also lifts off some of the dried paint underneath, giving in…

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