Thursday, September 27, 2007

Colors and my color swatches

All my colorsAll my color's - swatches

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.

My new colors My limited palette color swatches

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?


  1. Your color swatch is very inspirational to me. I've been meaning to do the same thing with glazes, but have been so lazy.

  2. I really like the looks of your limited palette -- especially the quinacridone violet! Most people (including me) use Winsor Violet, which I find to be a little deadening. The quin violet looks like it might keep it's punch! It IS fun to learn all this art stuff ...

  3. How NEAT, Nancy! I SO agree about knowing the colors we use -- it's so very tempting to keep trying 'something new' ... but I think using one pallet for a while certainly makes mixing and 'knowing' (or thereabouts) what will work sure helps!

  4. I've done those too and found them to be really helpful. I also noted the pigment names (eg PV19) so I could see what pigments the manufacturers used to make some of the mixed colors and learn more about how the different pigments act and also noted if they were transparent, opaque, staining, sedimentary, etc. It makes a wonderful reference. Now I'm faced with doing this for my oil paints but I have so many paintings I want to do that I can't seem to make the time.