My First Watercolor Palette

While moving some of my watercolor stuff, I found the key to the first complete watercolor palette I put together from professional paints after I switched from Cotman student grade! I made it in an Etchr ceramic mini-palette with 19 wells. I carefully researched what I was going to put in here, picturing that it … Read more

Desert Palette Revisited

My Desert Palette, which I used to paint my Vegas travel sketches and post-travel paintings, contained 26 carefully chosen colors. So which ones did I end up using the most? And which could I have left behind? Most Valuable Colors These were the colors I found myself reaching for again and again: Also Good Liabilities … Read more

Preparing Colors for the Desert

My partner’s sibling is getting married near Las Vegas in a few weeks, and even though it will be a short trip and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to paint, I’m excited to prep a new palette for a new biome (I’ve never been to the desert!) and to bust out some not-usually-used colors. 

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The Summer Palette!

The colors of the Summer Palette arranged in front of an image of a beach ball on a shore
The colors of the Summer Palette arranged in front of an image of a beach ball on a shore
Top row: Winsor Yellow (PY154); Holbein Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110); DS Quinacridone Coral (PR209); Holbein Quinacridone Magenta (PR122); Da Vinci Violet (PV23); SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50); DV Phthalo Green (PG7)

Bottom row: Letter Sparrow Titan Buff; DS MANS (PBr7); DV Burnt Sienna Deep (PR101); Holbein Ultramarine Deep (PB29); DV Prussian Blue (PB27); DV Phthalo Turquoise (PB16); DS Rich Green Gold (PY129)

The Autumn Palette was so much fun to put together that I decided to go back in time and do one for summer. Even though the weather’s getting colder where I am, the Summer Palette captures the warmth and fun of summer!

To be honest, summer is my least favorite season in reality because I hate being hot, but I love the aesthetic of summer: the beach, the boardwalk, bright colors, sunny skies, nostalgic/steamy tan-toned blue skies.

In this palette, the top row represents a rainbow of brights, while the bottom row is the colors of nature.

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The “Color First” Method of Building a Watercolor Palette

Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash. One of the results for the search “color vibes.”

I think of myself as being a color person, being in touch with my favorite colors, but when I started putting together my watercolor palette and having to actually make choices between colors, I found it really difficult! It’s easy for me to get really into a color, or to have multiple similar “favorites.” How do I choose between quinacridone rose vs. purple magenta when I love both of them? Am I more of a bright color person or a muted color person? What if it depends on my mood?

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The Autumn Palette

Colors of the Autumn palette
Top row: WN Winsor Yellow (PY154); HO Iso Yellow Deep (PY110); DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71); DS Deep Scarlet (PR175); DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19); DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60); DV Prussian Blue (PB27)

Bottom row: Mission Gold Green Gold (PY150); DS MANS (PBr7); DS Transparent Brown Oxide (PR101); DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48); DS Bordeaux (PV32); DV Cerulean Genuine (PB36); DS Serpentine Genuine

Happy autumn! I love fall – it’s my favorite season – so I’ve been super excited to collect fall colors and do fall paintings lately! I’ve put together this theme palette focusing on the warm tones of autumn, like colorful leaves and pumpkins. It could also be considered a golden hour palette because it’s designed to bring out those warm, golden, sunshiney moments right before sunset.

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The Neon Palette

Travelers Paper Co x Art Toolkit green pocket palette, loaded with neon colors.

I’ve decided to dedicate my new, vibrant green Travelers Paper Co x Art Toolkit Pocket Palette to a Neon Theme!

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What’s in my palette? (Summer 2022)

Top row: Winsor Yellow; Transparent Pyrrol Orange; Quin Coral; Quin Magenta; Indanthrone Blue; Marine Blue; Phthalo Green; Rich Green Gold.

Second row: MANS; Deep Scarlet; mixing well; Cobalt Blue; Serpentine.

Third row: Transparent Red Oxide; Perylene Violet; mixing well; Ultramarine Blue; Cobalt Turquoise.

The time has come! I’ve avoided making a “what’s in your palette?” post since I started this blog because it has changed so rapidly that it would always be out of date between when I wrote it up and when I posted it. But since doing Liz Steel’s course, I’ve settled on a pretty great set of colors that has had more sticking power than my previous sets, so I thought: it’s time!

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How to Build a Watercolor Palette from the Ground Up

I spend a lot of time researching paints before I buy one, planning how it will fit into one of my existing palettes: what niche it will fill; how it will play with my other paints; what I’ll be able to paint and mix with it that I can’t do now, or can’t do as easily. I’ve had some triumphs (THIS COLOR IS AMAZING) as well as some missteps (Huh, I just… never use this one.) So I have A Lot Of Thoughts on how to build a palette from the ground up that works for you, full of lovely paints you’ll enjoy and that will be versatile enough for everything you want to do! 

tl;dr All this is subjective. There are no rules. Get the colors you want.

Six well-loved tubes of paint from the Daniel Smith Essentials collection.

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