Some time ago I decided to go thought all my tubes of watercolors and make swatches of them all, all together on one piece of paper. I labeled them as to what the color was on the tube and the manufacture, such as transparent yellow- winsor newton. I also painted over a 1/2" line of black ink in to tell if it was transparent or not. I placed all the yellows together, earth colors together, reds, etc. I was so happy with this when I it was completed. I could look at one glance and tell what color would best suit my needs. Not to mention that all those colors just look great all lined up together ... neat and tidy.
I then decided that all those colors were too confusing to me. I did a little research and decided to concentrate on just a few colors. I chose the Michael Wilcox colors he suggests. I now have 8 colors in a small watercolor palette that I travel with: Cad Red Light, Quinacridone violet, Cad yellow light, Hansa yellow light, Cerulean Blue and Ultramarine blue, Burnt Sienna, and I added indigo- just because I like it, and in the 12 wells of the Eldajon palette I also have Yellow ochre, Raw Sienna, Blue, Phthalocyanne, green and some white.
I occasionally, when in a hurry, grab another tube of paint because I "know" what it will look like when on a fresh piece of white paper. But other than that I and trying hard to just learn these colors.
Don't you think this art stuff to be a fun journey?