Last week a CeCe Caldwell’s Paints Distributor had a customer ask for a mix to produce a light ochre color. Since other people had generously been sharing their mixes with me recently for the blog, I decided it was time to get back into the lab and stir up a new hue, starting with this one.


Ochre, in the world of paint, is a light brown with yellow, red or orange undertones. You will often hear people speak of ‘red ochre’, ‘orange ochre’ or ‘yellow ochre’ when describing the color of the ochre their comments are referring to. Like so many other colors there is not a single “ true ochre” color; instead there are many “true ochre” colors.

Different shade of Ochre Photo Credit:

Different shade of Ochre Photo Credit:

Ochre (also spelled ocher) is considered to be the oldest natural pigment used by mankind. It was used to add color to pottery, rock paintings, and was the first ‘ink’ used for human tattoos.  It is estimated that it was first used 300,000 years ago. I am pretty sure it was found on the original Pinterest® boards on cave walls.   Ochre pigments are found in iron oxide deposits all over the world. The other minerals found in the area influence the color of the ochre.   Remember, red barns were painted red due to the red iron oxide found in abundance.


Ochre Pigments Photo Credit:

The ochre I mixed up was yellow ochre. It was a easy mix. I started with equal parts of Myrtle Beach Sand (for the brown) and Vintage White (a very pale yellow cream). It made a great ochre but I decided to paly around with the mix some. In the end I had three yellow ochre’s that I really liked: Irmo, St. Martinsville and Burkville.   I chose the names because of okra festivals held in these towns. I have often heard the words OCHRE and OKRA mispronounced by people using one for the other. I love them both, the food and the color. However, should you decided to cook okra for me, be it fried, steamed, poached, steamed or dried, I promise not to complain if you call it ‘ochre’.

Photo Credit:

Burkville Ochre: 1 part Myrtle Beach Sand : 1 part Vintage White

Irmo Ochre: 4 parts Myrtle Beach Sand : 1 part Vintage White

St. Martinsville Ochre: 3 parts Vintage White : 1 part Myrtle Beach Sand