• Rotem

New Palette!

I set up a new watercolor palette today. The paints are all Holbein professional grade watercolors, and I managed to drop my phone in it when taking this photo, which is why the red is messed up.

Why did I set up the new palette? Well, I was using a palette before that was more or less random. When I first started out watercolors, I wasn't very experienced in color theory and basically picked a random yellow, red, blue, then a green tube, a purple tube, and a black. This served me well for a long while, but my paintings were a little bit drab.

Then I collected a few more tubes of paint, and decided to set up a palette.

I based it on... basically nothing. With the colors I had, I added a few more that I liked according to their swatches, and ended up with something that was functional, and did get my paintings to be much more colorful. I fell in love with some colors, like Quinacridone Gold (top row, fourth from the left) and Prussian Blue (top row, last) and a few more, and learned a bit about what I loved to use and what colors I never touched.

Then I found out a color I wanted to add to my palette - Venetian Red. There were no wells available though, so I had to redo my palette! That was the beginning. If I'm redoing my palette, I might as well choose colors according to some logic and experience.

I learned a bit about color theory, read and watched videos about paint, and then made some decisions.

I wanted:

  • Transparent colors

  • Split primaries

  • My favorites from my previous palettes

  • An adaptable palette (removable pans)

  • Holbein paints - those are simply the most affordable and accessible artist grade paints for me.

I made a list in my notebook.

What helped me in the process was Jane Blundell's Holbein swatches. Holbein doesn't list the pigment numbers on their site, but they do on their dot card which she used as reference.

Colors chosen, I made a shopping list with the colors I didn't already have from my previous palette, which were quite a few.

Some colors that didn't make it into the palette were:

Opera pink - I love it, but it's very fugitive, and I barely used it.

Lamp black - or any black. I found out I've just stopped using it

Titanium white - there are very limited uses for white in watercolors, mainly to make opaque pastels, and I just don't do that.

Indian red - while it's the closest color Holbein has to Venetian red, it just didn't have the same vibe to me, so eventually it just got left out.

Bamboo green - It is actually Phthalo green yellow shade in other brands, I believe, and just way too bright for me.

Paints in hand, it was swatching time!

I made those swatches in order to find the best order for the colors in the palette.

And of course, swatching so I don't forget which color is where. And also dropping my phone in the paint to contaminate it, of course, because that's the way things happen.

All in all I'm pretty happy with it! I can't wait to use it for actual pieces, and see if my plan actually worked out. I don't expect I'll use all the colors up the same way, but it should be more functional than my previous palette.

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