Neon Palette III

Neon Palette Mark III

Here’s one more run at improving the Neon Palette. This is fairy similar to my previous, Drawn to High Places-inspired Mark II, but this time I’ve divided the palette into two categories:

  • The top row are bold, bright, semi-opaque, matte, often with limited value range; they look bright and cheerful on the palette, which is one of my favorite things about the Neon Palette.
  • The bottom row are transparent and smooth with super-wide value range, and often look deceptively dull on the palette, but absolutely glow on the page. This takes inspiration from the color choices in Qor’s High Chroma set.

The Colors

Top Row – flat matte brights:

  • DV Hansa Yellow Light (PY3) – same as Mark II.
  • MI Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65) – More yellow than the Mark II pick of Benzimida Orange (PO62) and brighter/more opaque than my original pick of Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110).
  • DV Da Vinci Orange (PO73) – Same pigment as my previous pick of Winsor Orange Red Shade, but I find Da Vinci’s version to be slightly brighter.
  • MI Brilliant Opera (PR122, BV10) – Fluorescent color that has been a cornerstone of all my Neon Palette drafts.
  • MI Ultramarine Deep (PB29, PV15) – Boldest Ultramarine I’ve found! Electric violet tone.
  • SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) – Another stable cornerstone.
  • SH May Green (PG7, PY151) – same as mark II, though this continues to be the weakest contributor because you can mix a close approximation from Phthalo Green and Hansa Yellow Light.

Bottom Row – glowing transparent glazes:

The Future of the Neon Palette…?

Okay. Here’s where I admit that my Neon Palette is probably the one I’ve spent the most work on improving for the least reward. To be honest, I don’t really use it that much.

I’m really drawn to these bright, bold colors, but they can be difficult to use because they don’t really resemble anything in nature. Of course, if you don’t care to match the colors of nature, and want everything to look psychedelically bright, they’re great! I thought that was how my style would be, but in reality, I’ve found that I’m sort of in-between: I like colors that are on the bold side, but a step down from Maximum Brightness:

  • Instead of Hansa Yellow Light, I usually use Winsor Lemon (PY175).
  • Instead of Hansa Yellow Deep, I usually use Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110).
  • Instead of any orange, I usually mix Quin Coral (PR209) with yellow.
  • Instead of Opera Pink (or even Quin Magenta really), I usually use Quin Rose (PV19).
  • I frequently use Ultramarine Blue, but the Mission Gold pick I put in this palette is a bit much for me; I’ll tend toward slightly less bold Da Vinci or WN versions.
  • Despite nearly always having it with me because I love how it looks on the palette, I rarely actually reach for Cobalt Turquoise except when I’m making a special effort to work it in.
  • I use Phthalo Blue and Green; but more and more, I’m reaching for the slightly more subdued Phthalo Turquoise, which I find makes wonderful greens that don’t pop as much as Phthalo Green’s do.

These colors feel more versatile to me, and somehow I feel I’m able to make paintings that look and feel more glowing to me than with the boldest possible colors. Maybe it’s that I’m more able to tamp down what I don’t want to highlight, so that I can use contrast to showcase what I do.

I’m not arguing that these colors are better by any means, as color is a matter of subjective taste, just observing that my taste in colors for actual painting is different than I thought it would be (and/or different than my taste in “what colors look good on the palette”). If you’re more of a bold, graphical, illustrative color type of person, I hope my research into the brightest colors has been helpful to you!

1 thought on “Neon Palette III”

  1. Maybe you should check out Stoneground’s neon gouache line, which has an opera-like fluoro dye for every color. I have one and it’s punchy but basically handles like a watercolor, which I don’t mind.

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