Oil Colors: How I See Them

I’m not a fan of over thinking things, especially when it comes to palette choices and color theory.

I’m a fan of chaos, and even dumbing things down. I don’t like being rigid, laying out paint a certain way, and I don’t like being told what to do — hence why studying color theory in school bored me. Either something works or it doesn’t, but rarely do I ever do color studies. I love it when people say, “oh, this painting you stayed on the bla-bla-bla side of the color wheel” or some such academic observation, because I have zero idea what they are talking about. People ask about my decisions or why I chose what color for what; they never believe me when I shrug and tell them, “it looked ugly the other way and I thought this was prettier”.

So here is a list of what really goes through my head as I am going along choosing things out of my box of paints. Yes, paints have fantastic and fun names but when I’m in my silly process, that all goes out the window.

Burnt Umber: Brown

Vandyke Brown: You are just another brown with a Dutch name.

Yellow Ochre: Tan

Burnt Sienna: Brown that is kinda red

Terra Cotta: I’ve had this tube of paint for 11 years, and have used it twice.

Indian Red: Maybe one day I’ll use you more than I do now.

Cadmium Red: Damn, that is red

Alazarin Red: Pink and red, I find you useful.

Scarlet Lake: Another red, but you are expensive!

Cadmium Yellow: Dang, that is yellow.

Naples Yellow: I like you, you are the non-obnoxious light yellow.

Indian Yellow: Orange and yellow, and you take forever to dry.

Lemon Yellow: Why did I buy you? You are awful!

Dioxazine Purple: Now that is what I call some mutherfukking purple.

Magenta: You are kinda purple, but handy to mix with other things.

Sap Green: I like you.

Viridian Green: Bright green.

Chrome Green: I thought I’d like you, but I don’t, what can I mix you with?

Olive Green: Gee, you look like olives.

Terra Verte: You are the go-to green but damn you lay on thin.

Cobalt Blue: Damn, that’s some serious blue!

Prussian Blue: Dark blue.

Manganese Blue: Light blue.

Winsor Blue: Gross, I guess I’ll have to mix you with something.

Indathrene Blue: Inda-what? Whatever, you are pretty.

Mars Black: I like the cut of your jib.

Ivory Black: Black, duh.

Payne’s Gray: Black and blue and gray, kinda.

Flake White: you are too stiff.

Titanium White: White, duh.

And if you are wondering, yes, I do talk to my paints and brushes.

The End.

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4 Responses to “Oil Colors: How I See Them”


  1. 1 Dott Schneider 01/03/2010 at 9:28 pm

    Possibly one of my all time favorite posts EVAH!
    “Chrome Green: I thought I’d like you, but I don’t, what can I mix you with?” LOVE IT!

  2. 2 Shannon 01/03/2010 at 10:43 pm

    She does. She TOTALLY talks to the paint. Then again, who am I to judge? I talk to wool.

  3. 3 Ruthless 01/10/2010 at 1:02 am

    I talk to glass.

    Awesome post.

  4. 4 fatimaronquillo 01/12/2010 at 11:00 am

    haha – thanks so much! I feel you on the chrome green.


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