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Color leaning in different brands


So I finally made some painting and after my first experience with colour mixing I have a question. 

How can I find the "right" colours to use if I’m not using Geneva paint (I’m situated in Czech Republic -  Europe). I know that every colour leans to another colour, but how can I find where my colours are leaning? By leaning I mean, that usually cadmium yellow light might have some red already in it, or that ultramarine blue might have some red already in it. I want to mix and work from limited pallet, but I want to be able to mix all colours as Mark does with his Geneva paint.

The only oil colour brand I can easily buy is Czech brand Umton, they guarantee high quality comparable to other big brands, but how can I test it in regard of colour purity?

Here is manufacturers web page with their product portfolio:

Also which colour from these is closest to Alizarin Crimson? As I can’t find this in their list..


Thank you for advice.




  • Jaromir

    Color swatches and screen representation make choosing hazardous. All manufacturers make similar claims for their product.

    I suggest Winsor and Newton, available in Poland and Germany. Addresses available at . Type your search country in the box.

    Cadmium yellow pale, french ultramarine blue, burnt umber and permanent alizarin crimson as Mark recommends. You can then get predictable results with Mark's slow dry medium.

    Get some Venetian turpentine and clove oil too.

    You might want to wait until Geneva is available in Europe around Christmas. Save yourself a lot of time and expense.


  • Hi Denis, 

    Thanks for comments. I understand best will be to purchase W&N colours or other well known brand, unfortunatelly as you can see from attached map, there is not even one shop in Czech with this brand. I dont really want to waste money on international shipping for oil colours, which I will be buying often as I plan to paint quite a bit. And especially in learning stage, where Im really struggling to mix the right colour I want. I believe that Umton brand might be good enough, as a lot of Czech painters are using them. I already have Venetian turpentine and Im looking for clove oil.. 
    What Im looking for is kind of procedure which will help me to determine which blue/ red/ yellow should I use from them.. Maybe I will have to be using two blues instead of just one, same might be the case for yellow... etc.
    Btw are you using Geneva paints? Im wondering how long it takes before you go through 100ml jar? I would like to have a picture of how many paintings (or how big painting) it is possible to create with basick pack of geneva paints. I know its silly question, but you have that idea what Im thinking, right? 

    Thank you 

  • Btw while I was playing around with my colours I had no problem to mix orange or green, but violet wasnt vibrant at all.. It was dark brown violet. I have a lot to learn and I think Marks method might be really great to train my eye, even I want to do different style of painting in the end.. 
  • dencaldencal -
    edited December 2015
    Jaromir -

    What is the EuroZone for if you can't pop over the border to buy some paint? 200km and 39 euro by train.

    Many paint manufacturers make colors with mixed pigments (hues) rather than the more expensive single pigment colors. This means that mixing is unpredictable. Check out this page:

    Starting out, it is important to get all of the variables under control so that you know when things are going wrong and you are able to fix it. Please follow Mark's advice exactly. After a few paintings you will have the experience and knowledge to see color and mix values exactly. Variations to the procedure will be under your control and not controlled by the tube of paint.

    After one set of W&N you will be able to judge how good Umton colors are. Sounds to me like your Umpton red has orange pigment in it, good luck trying to mix a clear purple or lavender with any of your blue selections (orange being the complement of blue will neutralize it in any mixes).

    No. Geneva paints are not available in Australia until some time next year. I expect, based on my experience with W&N I will be able to paint several dozen (large and small) paintings with a Geneva set and should last me at least two years. I should have a lot of yellow and red left over as I use these colors for minor value adjustment.  


  • @Jaromir , I have lots of "winton" brand paint that is student quality, I am using them with the Medium that Mark uses. The only problem I have had , and it is a small one is that the yellow has a slight green shift.Do a small painting with glass ot silver to start with, to see how you get on.If you have to you can order one or two colours that you need using Amazon or eBay. Dennis always gives good advice. Go for it.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] admin
    edited December 2015
    Geneva paint goes a long way, and the expensive colors (the red and yellow) are probably used the most sparingly anyway. The other colors are very inexpensive. We'll have it in Europe soon. Until then, you can't really tell by looking at the colors online, as @dencal said. In person, you can be the judge yourself. Yellow is easy… most people can tell if it's slightly orange or slightly green. If it's hard to tell, then it's pretty neutral.

    Just so you know, you can use non-ideal colors as long as they're close to what Mark recommends. You will still be able to mix most colors — look at what Zorn was able to do with just four colors. When you need to mix a color that you are unable to mix with whatever colors you are using, you can get a small tube of something to "boost" that color to the color you need (like buying a tube of some kind of strong violet color).

    Hope this helps.
  • Thank you all for reactions, it is always great to have feedback!  

    I have made a little research and found many more questions -how unusuall :)  

    Denis: That is exactly what I was talking about, thank you for article. You are right that starting out it is most important to get rid of as many variables as possible. I will probably have to buy W&N to find out if Umton is ok or not.. As you are guessing, orange might be the case and my red will be probably problem, because I think I use PR108 pigment, which I found might have a lot of orange in it. There is nothing like PR177 in Umton and I found it is rare pigment in many other brands.. I found that Williamsburg has it, but its crazy expensive. I found in Umton only original Alizarin Crimson PR83, which is fugitive and I guess that is bad for mixing, right? 

    Thank you Marieb, I was looking for Winton as well, unfortunatelly I didnt find any distribution in Czech as well. I guess I will order them online from abroad or I will have reason to make a trip to Vienna :)

    David: Thanks for clarification. If I will order Geneva paint it will be a big investment for me (for your imagination, if the price will be same as in US, it will be 1/3 of my monthly income), so it is important for me to know that it will last for a while.. When I see mixing video, when Mark prepare his pellette, it always looks like he is using a lot of colour. 

  • PR108 is not rare — it's Cadmium Red, and it comes in various shades, some more orange than others. We will be releasing a Cadmium Scarlet (slightly orange-tinged cadmium red) in the future as well.

    PR177 (the pigment previously used for Permanent Alizarin Crimson) is actually no longer available, probably because they no longer use it in the automotive industry so demand decreased below the market threshold — any company you find using PR177 is using up their last bit of inventory. But you're right, I don't see any good substitutes on the Umton list you linked, and the best replacement I know of is probably expensive for you as well.

    I thought if you're ordering from the EU from within the EU, you didn't have to pay big international fees? Have you actually checked shipping costs of W&N paint? They have student grade (Winton) available as well, which we discuss a bit here: discussion/4313/cheap-paint-vs-expensive-paint-a-comparison

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