The truth is working with a limited palette of colors is most likely the thing that saves me. See if you can figure out my colors by looking at the palette.
I love a porcelain palette. The mixing area is a easy to clean and does not stain. I like the weight of the palette in that it does not shift when I am using a big brush. My paint in the photo is shiny - because it is wet and if it is not wet then I will add more paint or scrape out the dry paint and toss it. (Note the brown -whatever that is between the one green I have and the permanent rose? It has to go.)
I ask my students if they have a printer and most do. In that printer there are four colors. Blue, Yellow, Red and Black and from those colors that printer is programed to print any color you or I can imagine. So can we. Some limited palette folks have only the primaries and black. I depend on the three blues, two yellows, two reds and burnt sienna. I don't have black on my palette and if you come at me with paynes grey I will pull out my necklace of garlic and a cross.
The reason to learn to paint from a limited palette:
- Learning to mix colors will make your painting more cohesive
- You will save money
- Easier to transport if you paint plein air or go to workshops
- People will think you are a genius
The other photo is my paint drawer. Yes, I am a hoarder of paint tubes. When they get down to the end I get out my pliers and squeeze every bit I can out. But usually I am such a hurry to paint I pick up the fattest tube I can find to get that pigment into the palette. I use a couple of brands but the colors are always the same. I also buy big tubes (37ml). So please don't judge me for the small fortune you see in those gnarled tubes.
With every workshop you have attended you have probably added a tube of paint that the instructor used and moreover, knew how to use. You can end up with quite an eclectic collection. If you want to have your own personal palette think about having both a warm and cool version of red, blue and yellow. Then start mixing. Use a couple of sheets of watercolor paper and mix (and label) what you have mixed. Hint: mix blue, yellow and red and you will end up with a brown! Then when you have your primary mixes play with mixing them together (you will find a more beautiful grey than Paynes) . Keep the sheets for reference - your own private instruction book. Keep them were you can see them when you paint and you will have a ready reference for "which green should I use here?" Questions ? Send them to me here. I'll try to get back to you if I am not painting!