Saturday, September 2, 2017

Watercolor Palette for 2017 Q3 and Q4

My full watercolor palette for the rest of 2017.

It only took several months but for now I'm "stuck" with this palette until I run down a few colors—but it's difficult for me to be depressed about that because I can get the bright jewel tones I'm fondest of out of these paints.

Also I finally just attached half-pans into the bottom of a square petri dish with blu-tak. It's weird, but I'm happier painting with this than I've been with other set ups, up to and including the portable painter. I use three little solid glasses for my wash water, numerous petri dishes for mixing surfaces, and I'm pretty content.

There are three Lemon Yellow half-pans because I'm trying out this "keep the yellow clean" method I've seen elsewhere—have one yellow pan that isn't used to mix colors, and use another for mixing—heck, maybe have one that mixes warms, and one that mixes cools.

Altogether, this is 12 single-pigment colors: lemon yellow, organic vermilion, quinacridone rose, quinacridone purple, phthalo blue red shade, phthalo green blue shade, titanium white gouache, indanthrone blue, yellow ochre, "burnt sienna" hue (transparent red oxide), permanent brown, smoky quartz (my own mix), and lunar black.

All but two are Daniel Smith watercolors. Winsor & Newton colors are yellow ochre and their "burnt sienna", which is a hue that utilizes transparent red oxide. Not a great fan of Winsor & Newton's naming schemes that rarely indicate when something is a hue; and burnt sienna is one of the last things that should be replaced with a hue.

Smoky Quartz is made from two Daniel Smith paints: mostly viridian with a little quinacridone magenta. Viridian ran out rapidly for me as it tints so weakly that I used what was left to make this granulating grey. I don't think it'll be replaced once it runs out.

Currently I want to replace organic vermilion one day with pyrrole orange, as long as it can mix with quinacridone rose to give me a lovely fire engine red.

Smoky quartz, once it's used up, is going to be replaced with a convenience mix from Daniel Smith—shadow violet.

Lunar black is... sigh. I think it's going to hang around because thus far it's difficult for me to use well. One of my few true paint regrets—as is the "burnt sienna." I really wish I'd gone with perylene green, a single-pigment green that's so dark that it's one of the handiest black paints around.

The "burnt sienna" has already been mostly replaced by the permanent brown, and will not be replaced.

I generally have a difficult time trying to think of more colors to add.

I'd much rather paint.

Ava Jarvis is an ink and watercolor artist with a portfolio site at If you found this post useful, consider a one-time tip or supporting Ava on Patreon.