The Perfect Autumn Palette

Gouache: Finding the perfect autumn palette

In my recent post about mixing charts, I mentioned that I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect autumn palette. I’m pretty much knee-deep in mixing charts by now, but I think I’ve finally found my perfect autumn palette.

After mixing dozens of colors, I landed on the following 5 colors that I think make the “perfect” combination.

  • Prussian Blue
  • Cadmium-Free Lemon Yellow
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Perylene Black

And of course, white, but I’m not counting it because you always need white on the palette.

Gouache limited palette of autumn colors

At first I tried this without burnt sienna. It’s possible to get some vibrant oranges by mixing the alizarin with yellow, but burnt sienna has just a bit more of a rusty undertone which is perfect for Scottish autumn scenes.

Just out of curiosity, I ventured into the forest to take some reference photos, then imported them into Procreate to use the new palette-picker which finds the best palette based on a photograph (A really cool feature, thanks Procreate!).

Using procreate for color picking
Using procreate for color picking

Here is a test using all five colors:

Expressive autumn gouache painting
Expressive autumn gouache painting

Of course, it’s not just about what colors you choose, it’s how you use them! So I’ll continue to explore this palette as autumn unfolds, and share some more results soon!

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I'm an independent artist living in Scotland. Always chasing the light, and painting the beautiful highlands.

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