Small Trade Ups for Big Results: Trading up to Artists’ Oil Colour

September 14, 2020

Trading up to a professional level can seem overwhelming. A few small changes to your palette selections can make a big impact and allows for a more manageable transition while offering cleaner mixes and greater tinting strength.

Generally there are two grades of colour available from a given manufacturer: artists’ and student. Artists’ colors have the largest color selection, broadest handling properties, and highest pigment strength. For Winsor & Newton’s Artists’ Oil Colour, the primary colors are Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red Shade) and Permanent Rose.


It’s important to remember that not all reds, yellows and blues are the same. The correct primary colors will create the most beneficial secondary color mixes.

Winton Oil Colours were designed to be high quality, but within a price range to suit student and beginner budgets. This does not make them a poor quality; on the contrary they are quite good. Many artists also turn to Winton for covering large areas. However they may not give you the intensity, subtlety of colour, and handling that you will find with Artists’ Oil Colour. For Winton Oil Colours, the correct primary colors are Lemon Yellow Hue, French Ultramarine and Permanent Rose.


In addition to cleaner mixes, Artists’ Oil Colours also provide stronger tints when reducing with Artists’ Oil Colour Titanium White. Winton Titanium White’s reduction of the primaries, while still effective, are not nearly as vibrant. To try this yourself, mix the primary color and the titanium white at a ratio of 1 to 10 color to Titanium White. This will allow you to more easily note the temperature of a color as warm or cool. The color temperature is harder to see in the mass tone (color straight from the tube).

If you’d like to expand further, the split primary palette offers both warm and cool varieties of primary colors to create a wide variety of secondary colors from a limited palette.

The Artists’ Oil Colour split primary palette is:

  • Winsor Lemon
  • Winsor Yellow
  • French Ultramarine
  • Winsor Blue (Green Shade)
  • Permanent Rose
  • Cadmium Red

You’ll notice that the primary blue – Winsor Blue (Red Shade) – is not included in the split primary palette. The warm variation of blue is achieved by French Ultramarine in the split primary palette. Since Winsor Blue (Red Shade) is also a warm blue, it is not included in the split primary palette. French Ultramarine and Winsor Blue (Green Shade) work together to achieve a more complete split primary palette of warm and cool variations of blue.

The Winton Oil Colour split primary palette is:

  • Lemon Yellow Hue
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • French Ultramarine
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Permanent Rose
  • Cadmium Red Hue

With the addition of Titanium White and a warm and cool earth color like Burnt Umber and Raw Sienna, respectively, artists can have a well-rounded palette that will meet their needs for a wide variety of subjects.

Make the investment in your art by trading up key colors to Artists’ level oil paints and explore the endless possibilities of your palette.