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.


13 responses to “My five favourite colours – part 1”

  1. Hope you feel better soon.
    I think your favourite colour changes over a lifetime. As a kid I like purple. A teenager and in my 20’s it was BLACK (for everything). In my 30’s it was bright colours. A few years ago I LOVED orange. Still do. But my favourite right now is Green! Coincidentally, I was listening to ABC radio (I know) where they were discussing colours and how they make you feel. Green makes you feel calm apparently. So I’ve even
    created a Pintrest board on Green whenever I need
    some ‘Calm’ in my life. He he. It was an interesting
    radio interview. Sometimes they post pod casts on
    the site. It was about a week agoon abc radio afternoons with Sonia Feldham

    1. I’ll live – I’ve just had to live more horizontally lately than normal πŸ˜€

      I agree with favourite colours changing over time. For years mine was a green, a grassy green, but as I’ve gotten older it has definitely shifted to turquoise and the more blue of the greens. Apparently when babies are born they only see black and white for the first few months, kids have a preference for red (I can remember that) and I can also remember that bright pink pencil I had at school that was used so much that it ended up being about a centimetre and ahalf long (I may still have it somewhere around here).

      And yes, definitely, there is some strong colour theory around emotion. I originally colour co-ordinated my loungeroom around my favourite colour at the time, green, and it has always been an extremely relaxing room. Nowadays it has more energy with the addition of turquoise and vermillion and a rainbow rug (reflection of the kids, but I’m loving it).

      Have you ever been to the Marion Cultural Centre theatre? I haven’t been there in years, but back when it first opened I had a tour as part of my library work. The interior is bright red. I love red, but I can’t stay in that room for any period of time. The colour won’t let me relax, it just has me on edge the entire time.

      So yeah, colour can affect mood really strongly at times.

      And ABC radio is fabulous. I’ve been known to listen to it while painting or beading. It is best when traveling interstate on long drives when you’ve got time to simply listen.

      Thanks so much for dropping by, it is so lovely to see you here πŸ˜€ Next weekend is looking good for a kiddly get together. Would you like to come here and visit my turquoise loungeroom? πŸ˜€

      Best wishes,

      PS: Hubby just pointed out that we currently have a bug in the system – youngest has developed a fever today and eldest is claiming sore throat. Perhaps for your safety, the following weekend of 26 Nov might be a better option (I’m working on the 25th). Assuming us parents haven’t caught it by then ::sigh::

  2. My favorites have always been all colors of the sky and ocean which can be almost any colors! Your photos are all gorgeous. Hope you feel better soon. Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Martha. πŸ˜€

      Yes, it is so hard to choose, so that’s why I kinda went for my paints, because there are some colours I use more than others.

      Back is getting better, thanks πŸ˜€ I’ll be back to my artwork soon.

      Thanks for dropping by and for your kind comments.

      Best wishes,

  3. Awesome choices! Thanks for your advice on paint colors. I’m like you, I just can’t decide on my ONE favorite color…I always say cobalt blue, but a close second are the following: wine red, plum, medium blues, sunshine yellows. But then as a third come the purples and greens and almost everything else! πŸ™‚ It’s too hard to pick. We have such a wonderful pallet of choices in this beautiful world! Great post! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Yes, it is hard to choose amongst our wonderful world of colours, but we have a limited palette when it comes to painting and I know I use more of some colours than others, so I’m falling back on that πŸ˜€ Otherwise I’d be completely lost πŸ˜€

      Thanks so much for dropping by and for your wonderfully kind comments. It is great to see you here. πŸ˜€

      Best wishes,

  4. Hope your back feels better. Really enjoyed seeing all the ocean waves and warm orange hues since it’s a cold, gray day here. Green is my favorite color but I do like most all colors.

    1. I’m definitely getting there. It is back to work tomorrow πŸ˜€

      Green was my favourite for a very long time, but somehow as I got older it switched to tyurquoise. I’m going to blame the beaches I love πŸ˜€

      Glad I could provide a bright spot for your day πŸ˜€ Thanks so much for dropping by.

      Best wishes,

  5. Love your captures. Thank you for joining OYGIF. One of your photos will be featured this weekend. Hope You could drop by.

    1. Oh, wow, thank you, Maria. Thankyou for hosting the blog hop. And thanks for dropping by and commenting. I’ll be sure to drop in and visit on the weekend πŸ˜€

      Best wishes,

  6. […] participant’s blog. For last week’s favorite photo, I have chosen Liz Powleys‘s Orange post. Hope you’d drop by the […]

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