Artist Palette Profiles: Claire Giordano

I love Claire Giordano’s quick but detailed mountain landscapes and I am a proud student of her Adventure Art Academy. According to Claire’s resource guide, her palette has changed depending on the landscape where she paints, and I’ve seen a few iterations of it, but this is what’s currently covered in her video, Colors in My Adventure Painting Kit. All colors are Daniel Smith.

Most Used Colors

SlotClaire HasClaire Quotes
BlackDS Neutral Tint“I love Neutral Tint. It’s a really wonderful versatile color. As the name implies, you can add it to other colors and it gently brings them more toward gray. It is also a color I will use sometimes for any entire painting.”
Middle BlueDS Cobalt Blue (PB28)“Cobalt Blue is one of my few colors that is derived from heavy metals so as a result, I have to make sure that I don’t dump any water that has cobalt blue in it outside. I carry it out with me. … It’s an unmatched color for conveying the gorgeous color of our bluebird skies out here [in the Pacific Northwest].”
CyanDS Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)“I like to describe this color as a pigment that likes to steal the party… a teeny tiny bit goes a long way.”
Middle YellowDS Hansa Yellow Medium (PY97)
Warm YellowDS New Gamboge (PY110 + PY97)
MagentaDS Quin Rose (PV19)
ScarletDS Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255)

Additional Colors

SlotClaire HasSome Alternatives
Violet BlueDS Ultramarine Blue (PB29)“So gorgeous. Very high granulation ability.”
Violet BlueDS Indanthrone Blue (PB60)“Absolutely delightful really really really dark blue. This one has an interesting quirk in that it dries much lighter and less saturated than it appears when wet… so whenever I work with this color, if I do want it stay at a very high level of saturation, I will add a little bit of Phthalo Blue Green Shade.”
GoldDS Quin Gold (PY150/PO48)
Bright Cool YellowDS Hansa Yellow Light (PY3)
GreenDS Phthalo Green Blue Shade (PG7)
Earth RedDS Indian Red (PR101)
Earth OrangeDS Quin Burnt Orange (PO48)
Middle RedDS Perylene Red (PR178)

Colors Used Sparingly

SlotClaire HasSome Alternatives
White SH Gouache – Titanium White (PW6)
Middle BlueDS Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB15:6)“Like our lovely Indanthrone Blue, this paint will also have a pretty dramatic shift in color, so when it dries it does not retain the same level of vibrancy; it will tone down in saturation and get a little more purple in appearance… As a result of that, it makes some spectacular mixes that I really can’t get any other way. It’s a great blue to tone down green mixes because of that color shift and dulling effect.”
VioletDS Carbazole Violet (PV23)“A stunning deep dark purple… You can get a similar color by mixing one of these other blues with rose, but having the purple on its own gives me more mixing possibilities.”
Earth OrangeBurnt Sienna (PBr7)
Dark GreenDS Perylene Green (PBk31)
Granulating CyanDS Cerulean Blue Chromium (PB36)“I like Cerulean Blue especially in mixtures with yellows and pinks because if I mix it with non-granulating colors, it will settle out, and I get really interesting effects.”
Granulating CyanDS Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50)“Not one I use very much. I often get asked why I keep it if I don’t use it much, and I don’t have a super great answer. There’s a couple small reasons. There’s a lot of dark blues in my palette, so having a bright one right in the middle helps me to distinguish among the others. If I’m working quickly, it helps me find my way around my palette. And as another granulating pigment, it makes some unique effects that are harder to get. I can mix a similar non-granulating color with Phthalo Blue Green Shade and a little bit of Hansa Yellow Medium, but if I want that texture for glaciers or certain alpine lakes, [Cobalt Teal Blue] is my go-to color.”
Granulating Dark BlueDS Sodalite Genuine“This is a color I did not expect to love as much as I do. It’s even more granulating than Ultramarine Blue. It’s very subtle, more of a gray than a blue… A fun addition to my palette.”
Granulating BlackDS Lunar Black (PBk11)
Coastal Sand BuffDS Buff Titanium (PW6:1)


I love exploring the palettes of my favorite artists because it’s fascinating to me what colors keep showing up again and again, and which ones are more unusual and perhaps signature to a particular person’s style or preferences. For example, I strongly associate Cobalt Blue skies and Carbazole Violet mountain shadows with Claire, but it feels like everyone has Ultramarine and Quin Gold. Gradually, slowly, I think this exercise is also helping me to identify which colors are my favorites as I peek over and see which ones I want to copy and which ones I’m like, “Nah.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed another look into the palette box of an artist!

1 thought on “Artist Palette Profiles: Claire Giordano”

  1. Ooh you need some diox violet in your life, it’s such a wonderful color. I love cool purple the way you love orange though (yeah I can mix it, but I want purple at my fingertips, the richest, most beautiful, blue-violet…)

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