Artist Palette Profiles: Shari Blaukopf

I’m really enjoying the Urban Sketching Handbook series: short, image-packed books that focus on watercolor on location. As a color enthusiast, one of my favorites so far has been Working with Color by Shari Blaukopf.

In the book, Blaukopf does list the colors in her current 23-color palette, though she cautions, “Don’t lock yourself into a final selection. In fact, I’m constantly swapping colors because I love to experiment.” Same!!

Still, let’s look at the palette listed in the book.

The Colors

Blaukopf lists color names next to swatches, but doesn’t give brands. I understand why she didn’t want to shill for particular brands, nor introduce pigment numbers and have to explain them, but it does make it difficult to tell exactly what these colors are. Where possible, I’ve guessed at a brand (my guesses in parentheses) based on color name or appearance. Again, these are guesses, I don’t actually know.

ColorSB Has (Brand, Pigment Guess)Other Alternatives
Bright YellowHansa Yellow Light (Da Vinci or M. Graham, PY3)Lemon Yellow (PY175), Hansa Yellow Medium (PY97), Pure Yellow (PY154)
Yellow-OrangeNew Gamboge (from appearance, Winsor & Newton, PR209/PY150)Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65), Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110)
GoldQuinacridone Gold (likely PY150/PO48)Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, mix your own from Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150) + earth orange
OrangeTransparent Orange (Winsor & Newton, DPP)Transparent Orange (PO71), Pyrrol Orange (PO73), Benzimida Orange (PO62), any earth orange
Bright Red/ScarletCadmium Red (PR108)Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255), Scarlet Lake (PR188), Pyrrol Red (PR254), Perylene Red (PR178)
CrimsonPermanent Alizarin CrimsonPyrrol Crimson (PR264)
Magenta/PinkQuinacridone Rose (PV19)Quin Magenta (PR122), Magenta (PV42)
PurpleCarbazole Violet (Daniel Smith, PV23)Ultramarine Violet, Quin Violet, mixed violets
Yellow-GreenLeaf Green (Holbein, PG7/PY154)Phthalo Green YS (PG36), May Green, DIY mix of Phthalo Green + yellow
Convenience Foliage GreenSap Green (Daniel Smith, PG7/PY150/PO48)Hooker’s Green, DIY mix of Phthalo Green + Quin Gold
Green (Blue Toned)Phthalo Green Blue Shade (Da Vinci or M. Graham, PG7)Phthalo Green YS (PG36), Viridian (PG18)
Dark GreenForest Green (Sennelier, PBk7/PG7/PY42)Perylene Green (PBk31)
TurquoiseCobalt Teal (Winsor & Newton, PG50)Cerulean Blue (PB36) – also granulating but less bright. Phthalo Turquoise – smooth and darker.
Blue (Green Toned)Cerulean Blue (PB36)light value Cobalt Blue, Phthalo Blue GS (not granulating), Prussian Blue (darker, not granulating)
Blue (Middle)Cobalt Blue (PB28)Ultramarine (redder-toned), Phthalo Blue RS (not granulating)
Blue (Violet Toned)Ultramarine Blue (PB29)Indanthrone Blue (darker/not-granulating), Cobalt Blue (less red-toned)
Dark Blue (Green Toned)Prussian Blue (PB27)Indanthrene Blue (PB60); muted Phthalo Blue GS
Dark Blue (Middle)Indanthrene Blue (Winsor & Newton or Da Vinci, PB60)Indigo, Prussian Blue (greener)
Earth OrangeBurnt Sienna (Da Vinci, PBr7)Transparent Red Oxide (PR101), Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48)
Earth Yellow-OrangeRaw Sienna (Da Vinci, PBr7)MANS (PBr7), Yellow Ochre (PY42)
Earth YellowYellow Ochre (Da Vinci, PY42)Raw Sienna, MANS
Very Dark BlueIndigoPayne’s Gray (esp. WN)
BlackLunar Black (Daniel Smith)Neutral Tint, any black, Payne’s Gray (DS or SH)

Some observations:

  • There are enough colors here that I found some hard to swap without using a color that is also listed. To me, this indicates that it would be relatively easy to have a smaller palette.
  • Love the sheer number of blues. I also love blue and have a lot of my palette. I struggle with deciding between Ultramarine, Cobalt, and Cerulean blues, so it’s kinda inspiring to see someone who hasn’t chosen and just has all of them. (Though I also like to have Phthalo Blue!)
  • Darker browns (Burnt Umber, Raw Umber) conspicuously absent from earth tones. Intriguing.

More Cool Tips I Learned From This Book

This is the book that inspired me to try Alizarin Crimson hue + Cerulean for a nice cloud mix! Also, that a light value Raw Umber (or MANS in my case) painted on before adding stormclouds can add contrast to the cool clouds.

Sky experiments inspired by “Urban Sketching Handbook: Working with Color” by Shari Blaukopf. Left: Sky with HO Ultramarine Deep and DS Cerulean Chromium, and cloud shadow with the same Cerulean and DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone. Right: Pale yellow sky from diluted MANS, and dark clouds from DS Indanthrone and DS Transparent Red Oxide.

And plenty more. It’s a great book!