Monday, June 16, 2014

Selecting Your Watercolor Palette

When I teach workshops, I often see students with teeny, tiny paint palettes and even teenier, tinier dried blobs of paint in the wells. After watching them struggle to load up their brushes with paint during the workshop, I started recommending a large paint palette in the supply list.

I use a Frank Webb watercolor palette. It is 12 x 17" and comes with a lid to keep the paint from drying out when I'm not working. It has a large center area with plenty of room to mix my paints using a large brush. 

My palette contains 25 open-ended wells to store my paint, which I rejuvenate by spritzing with water and stirring with a mixing stick. I usually need to do this once a day.

I organize my colors with transparent paints starting on the bottom right, semi-transparent, in the middle, and opaques on the left. I loosely follow a light-to-dark sequence within the groups. To see a list of paints that I use, click hereWhen I notice that I haven't used a certain color for a long time, I replace it with a new color. 

To remove a paint color, I wait until it is rock hard and gently lift it out with a palette knife, taking care not to crack the palette.

This is what my palette usually looks like at the end of the day! I often leave the paint in the center while I continue with my painting. I clean the center right before stating a new painting.

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