Nicholas Baxter

Blog posts tagged “Palette”


My latest installment in The Apostasy series, and the last for 2012, is now complete.  Four times as big as the next smallest piece in the series, and by far the largest painting I’ve attempted in oil at 48 inches square, this was a grueling endeavor.  Quite frankly, I’m just relieved it’s over, but on the positive side, I feel much more prepared and able to take on the next (and second to last!) piece in the series, which will be in the same large size range.

Here is a visual walk through the process of making this painting, which for now I’ve tentatively titled Glorification:

oil on canvas board, 12 x 12in, 2012

Glorification (study), oil on canvas board, 12in x 12in, 2012


Projection Tracing

Starting Grisaille


The Special Sauce















Glorification, oil on panel, 48in x 48in, 2012

Happy new year everyone! May we all enjoy success in our continuing endeavors, and a progression in awareness, happiness, and health from an individual level to a global scale.




In The Studio 3

Some of this past month’s progress shots from my massive 4-foot square painting currently in progress. Hoping to have it completed by the end of the year…


The start of details, a.k.a. the fun begins.

In The Studio 1

I had these studio pictures laying around, so I figured I’d post them.  They’re from my recent series “The Apostasy” which is still on display for a very short time at Last Rites Gallery in NYC.  See the blog archive for previous posts about the series, and view it now in its entirety by navigating through the “2012” category to your left.

Thanks to the generous collectors who bought paintings!

“Baptised” in progress, with reference, November 2011.

“Baptised” palette madness.

Painting the final image of the series, “Communion” at the Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico, February 2012.

My Palette

There’s this thing that happens when I’m preparing my palette at the beginning of any project, when fresh paint hits freshly-scraped, pristine plexiglas. It’s a moment of reverie and deep satisfaction sprinkled with a faint crackle of nervous anticipation.

Arranging the colors in just the correct sequence is the code that opens the gate. The familiar smell of Linseed Oil is the painter’s incense, an invitation do dive right in. Sometimes, though, the untouched cleanliness of the whole setup is religious like an altar and I’m afraid to touch it, to muddle the perfection. So, recently I decided to preserve the moment.

My usual palette, for the last 10 or so years.

I’ve arrived at the following palette through a natural distillation of my working process over the last 15 years of making paintings:

  • Titanium White
  • Flesh Tone (Gamblin)/Buff Titanium/Naples Yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Raw Sienna/Burnt Sienna/English Red
  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Napthol Red/Grumbacher Red
  • Cadmium Red Deep
  • Alizarin Permanent
  • Burnt Umber
  • Ultramarine Blue/Viridian green
  • Cerulean Blue

Although highly refined and realistic images may potentially be achieved with a much smaller palette, each color listed above fills a unique void in the spectrum according to which I see and use color, for my particular style or version of high-realism painting.

This is especially true with the 4 reds I use. The bulk of my preferred subject matter is dependent on a wide range of subtle variation in the red area of the color spectrum. Highly specific combinations of these reds are a crucial part of my technique on most paintings. There’s a formula for the most convincing fresh blood that must be followed.

As indicated above, in three areas of my palette’s color spectrum are alternates of a similar hue that may be rotated in, according to the particular needs of a piece.

And of course, there is no true Black included. “Black” in all its subtle variation is achieved from several combinations of the darkest colors, which is a method that’s more conducive to a highly realistic result.  Furthermore, teaching oneself to recognize the subtle nuances in such a strong color as black is an important step in being able to create lifelike and convincing illusions.

An aftermath.