Will Kemp: The Technique For Laying Out An Acrylic Paints Palette

A beautifully and concisely presented art tutorial from Will Kemp on establishing your color palette before undertaking your painting. He discusses the importance of starting with warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other side, but equally important is to do the same but with light and dark from one side to the other (this way you don’t run the risk of dirtying the paint).

Keep the colors locked tight to the top edge to maximise space and you will only need 5 colors to ever mix together which creates 90% of your painting palette. You will need another two like a strong red and a blue with green undertones (turquoise potential). So these colors are cadmium yellow light, alizarine crimson red permanent, burnt umber, ultramarine and titanium white.

To begin your acrylic painting Kemp says you should dismiss the yellow and white and use the others in a combination as they are the key colors to create tonal value (the most important aspect within painting, more so than color itself). Have fun and enjoy.

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    1. Mass Effect fans pop up in the strangest places! 😉 Thanks Will, the class is going well so far. I have a question regarding this vid: I notice the lack of the omnipresent “Mars Black.” What’s the best way to make black with these five recommended colors?

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    2. Hey Sam,The easiest way to make a black is to mix the Ultramarine blue & Burnt umber, you will need more ultramarine blue than burnt umber, nearly 2:1 for the ultramarine blue. I don’t usually recommend a black when you are first starting as it can be easy to overpower your mixes. This mix enables you to experiment with both a warm and cool black, without actually using black, I’ve written a blog post on the 3 myths of black paint that you might find of interest, Thanks, Will

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    3. The straight green will darken but will also neutralise the cad red, so it depends on the result you are after – warm, purpley or dull.If you want to keep the alizarin crimson still warm but darker, then add burnt umber, darker but purpley then add ultramarine blue, or darker and duller, add black.You could also add green to Alizarin crimson and you would get a darker but duller result (similar to if you added black but not as strong)Hope this helps,Will

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