I’ve been asked many times how I set up my watercolor palette. So, here you go…here’s how I do it.
First, I’ve begun to use my travel palette (that I take overseas to workshops) all of the time. It’s so much lighter and easier to pack!
Pictured on the left are two choices. I have both of them, filled with the same colors. The bottom one is small enough to fit into my specially designed plein air travel bag. It is ironically names “folding plastic palette” item number #13461 from Jerry’s Artarama. Around $5.00.
The top palette is the Mijello bullet-proof glass palette. I’m trying this one out for the first time in Italy later this month.
Both palettes has many wells for paint colors. Although I can mix many colors from just a few, I really enjoy.
Having special “different” colors on my palette. They are just plain fun.
Before I use a new palette, I like to use a bit of Soft Scrub to take the slickness from the new surface. Just put a bit onto the surface, rub it around a bit, then rinse it off thoroughly.
I fill up the wells with my favorite colors. With both of these palettes, I have extra empty spots. My ‘regular’ colors fill up only a portion of it, so that leaves empty spaces for special colors, or future choices. When you fill the wells, place the tube over the deep end and squeeze color in until it’s entirely filled. Don’t be skimpy! There’s no waste with watercolor, so put in that color. In the photo you can see that all of the wells are filled.
Let the palette sit out and open for several days, so that the paint can dry to the touch. Once it’s dry to the touch, you can feel free to close the lid.
You can see that my palette has been well used.
List of Colors on my Palette
My palette changes from time to time. There are several colors that I’ve used since the beginning. I like to place all of those in a row, side by side, starting at the top space. When they’re all on the palette, I place any ‘special’ colors into missing spots. Later, if I enjoy them so much that I want them to become a part of my permanent palette, I may fit them into the place they belong. What I mean by this is…..a blue would go with the other blues, red with the other reds, etc.
Here are my colors as they are laid out on my palette. All colors are Winsor & Newton unless otherwise specified.
Winsor Blue (red shade), Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Turquoise, Cerulean Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange (Daniel Smith), Brown Madder, Quinacridone Red/Winsor Red, Cadmium Orange, Oprah, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, New Gamboge, Paynes Gray, Winsor Violet.
‘Special’ colors are added after these and they currently are:
Sennelier Helios Purple, Carmine, Transparent Yellow, Olive Green/Prussian Blue share a spot. Holbein Lilac/Lavendar, Holbein Horizon Blue/Cobalt Turquoise.