The Winter Palette, Mark II

Last year, I proposed a Winter Palette, and then I changed my mind about many of the colors after doing Lisa Spangler’s Nature Spot challenge. After a second round of Nature Spot challenge the following year, I have built a second iteration of the Winter Palette!

Winter Palette, Mark II

The Colors

Top Row

DS Rich Green Gold (PY129)

Great for mixing greens, especially pine greens, and for moss.

Alternate: PY150 mixes similarly.

HO Imidazolone Yellow (PY154)

Default primary yellow. I had tried a “cool yellow” (e.g PY3) for cool winter last year, but found PY154 much more useful for mixing even the brightest-looking yellow-greens of winter.

DV Permanent Rose (PV19)

Default primary magenta/pink.

Alternate: PR122 is even cooler.

HO Phthalo Blue RS (PB15)

Default primary blue/cyan. Nice for mixing basic greens and also great for blue skies.

Alternate: Phthalo Turquoise is better for mixing bright greens but not as good for skies. Phthalo Blue Green Shade can always be subbed in for either. Prussian Blue for something a bit duller.

DV Cobalt Blue (PB28)

I love Cobalt Blue for winter because to me, it just looks freezing cold! It’s neither green nor violet-toned so it’s perfectly free of any warm undertones. It’s also lovely for crisp blue skies with soft clouds.

SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50)

Bold turquoise for bright sky horizons and ice colors. Also nice for chromatic cloud mixes.

HO Titanium White (PW6)

I like to have a white in my palette for winter. The “chalky looking” pastels of white can be good for heavy clouds or snow shadows.

Bottom Row

DV Raw Sienna (PBr7)

Good for dry grass.

Alternate: MANS or Yellow Ochre is brighter/yellower but for the grayness of winter, I like the way oranger Raw Sienna can be more muted by blues.

DS Transparent Red Oxide (PR101)

Mixer for browns and grays and brown-grays (with blues). For example, the tree in the image was painted with a mix of TRO and Indanthrone Blue.

Alternate: Burnt Sienna is the classic earth orange that’s a bit duller. Burnt Umber may be more convenient if you’re mainly wanting to mix browns.

DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19)

Deep/bright red that’s good for winter berries or cardinals.

Alternate: PR254 for something brighter.

DS Carbazole Violet (PV23)

Useful mixer for snow shadows and deep browns.

Alternate: Quin Violet (PV19) also mixes nice violet-blues with blue, though CV is better for mixing browns.

DV Ultramarine Blue (PB29)

Generally useful mixing blue. My MVP in last year’s Nature Spots.

DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60)

Super-useful! My favorite shadow blue. Nice and dull and dark for moody winter scenes. Also a great brown mixer with earth orange. Also a great pine green mixer with Green Gold.

WN Phthalo Turquoise (PB16)

Mixes great snow shadows with Carb Violet, with alternating flashes of turquoise and violet. Also good for mixing any stray greens.


I’ve been working with this palette out and about during this year’s Nature Spot challenge. With its many blues, it’s especially great for crisp blue skies and snow scenes.