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Old 02-10-04, 10:07 AM
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Default Help on the first basic pallette of pigments to buy

Hello I'm a first time user of this forum so forgive me if this question has been answered some where.
I would like to start painting with egg tempera but I can't find any information on the basic starting pallette of raw pigments.
Most paint suppliers have a basic pallette which they all name differently, but are very much the same.
So really if I was walking into a pigment sellers and I wanted my very first
egg tempera pallette of colours, what would you suggest I buy.
Also will the pigments all have the same name relating to that one colour.
Thank you for your time on this one, look forward to your help.
Regards Gary.
Old 03-10-04, 12:49 PM
turlogh turlogh is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Auburn, Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 57
Default Re: Help on the first basic pallette of pigments to buy

Originally Posted by gary
I would like to start painting with egg tempera but I can't find any information on the basic starting pallette of raw pigments.
Everyone will have a different opinion on this. It also depends on how you want to paint and how much money you have to spend, since some pigments are cheap and others are very expensive. If you've used other media, most of your favorites are available in raw form and will be just as useful in tempera. Here are some suggestions (sorry, but I can't just give you *the list*, because there isn't one).

White: I like a 50/50 blend of titanium and zinc whites (titanium is too strong and chalky in mixtures, while zinc by itself is too transparent).

Black: Vine or ivory make good cool blacks.

Blue: Ultramarine is cheap and a good basic violet blue. Pthalo is too strong unless it is cut with chalk or other fillers. Cobalt blues (including cerulean) can be useful. I am also fond of indigo.

Yellow: I like bismuth yellow. Cadmiums require precautions because they can be hazardous. A bright yellow ochre very useful.

Red: A strong red ochre will do for many purposes. Stronger reds are available in cadmiums, azos, napthols, irgazines, etc. Alizarine can be useful as a transparent violet red.

Green: Chromium oxide green is very useful, or you can mix your greens. Pthalo green is too strong. Green earth is weak, but occasionally useful.

Earth colors: You can't have too many ochres, siennas, caput mortuums, and so on. These are great to work with in tempera. Start with a raw sienna, a burnt sienna (or red ochre) and a yellow ochre.

I hope this helps.
Old 03-10-04, 05:01 PM
RobM's Avatar
RobM RobM is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nottingham, England
Posts: 352

I am making an asumption in the way you spell 'colour' and that you may well be from the UK????
If so, check out Cornelissen's
They have a range of pigments in 15ml plastic containers which are ideal for newbies to ET before having to spend loads of money for the larger quantities. See their Products - Pigments Gums and Resins - View price List. You will see many of the popular pigments marked as available in 15ml jars. On Page 5 of the list there is a complete package of small quantities but this I feel is rather expensive and really there are just too many colours.
I have a basic palette of Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue Light, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Indian Red, Cadmium Red, Viridian Green. Then there are a few others but less important and just an indulgence.
Old 18-11-04, 06:47 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Chicago, Illinois USA
Posts: 417

I don't mean to be always be getting back to this subject, but please be aware that some of these pigments are toxic. Everybody knows about the Cadmiums (right?), but Cobalt colors (including Aureolin) and Chromium colors (including Viridian) are just as bad.

There are a number of excellent safety hazards manuals available, and I have a detailed paper on my website ( which talks about pigments, albeit primarily aimed at pregnant women. Any artist, but especially beginners, should have some familiarity with the safety of his or her materials.

As for starting palettes, I also like Mars Black, which is very strong for when one wants to do ink-like underpaintings, and thins with white to a lovely blue-grey.
Old 19-11-04, 04:03 PM
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PhilS PhilS is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Sargentville, Maine
Posts: 222

I have just recently discovered Mars Black. It's a wonderful color. I prefer it over Ivory Black. My oil paint friends can't believe that I actually use black pigment but in my opinion it is indispensible for tempera.

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