Selecting colors for my new palette took much longer than I ever imagined it would. The top priority was to have a range of pigments with a wide variety of various properties.

This color chart shows the range of value of each color, with the names listed of each color as well as the pigment used to make the color. (Compared to the full pix of the palette shown in the previous post, this list starts with the third color in on the top to the right and goes around counter clockwise.)

Double click on the chart to see the colors up close, and you'll notice the sedimentary qualities of several of the colors. Effort was made to cause blossoms on each damp paint strip, and many of the sedimentary colors resisted producing that effect.

Things that had to be considered for my palette included these specifics ---

1. Staining or lifting quality of the pigment - needed both, but not too many strong stainers

2. Transparent, semi transparent, or opaque quality of the pigment - plenty of transparent ones important with just a few truly opaque ones needed

3. Sedimentary and granulating feature versus clear, smooth texture - LOVE the effects that granulating colors add and tend to go overboard in selecting them, but needed clear, smooth ones to complement them, too

4. Toxicity of the pigment - wanted a non toxic palette but had to include Cobalt Violet Deep because it's so useful and beautiful in so many ways

5. Value range of the pigment - needed some very strong darks

6. Permanency of the pigment - no fugitive or fading colors allowed even if I'm in love with the color... no Opera or old Alizaron Crimson, not even Auerolin or Rose Madder

7. Pure pigment versus mixture of pigments - wanted only pure pigments but did add Ultramarine Turquoise which is a blend of French Ultramarine and Phthalo Green... Seldom ever use those two colors so the mixture in one tube was great - plus I love the hue

8. Ease of mix ability with other pigments - Most colors play well together.... but some don't

9. Range of hues within each color family - needed a warmer blue & a cooler blue, a warmer red & a cooler red, etc.

10. Personal preferences for colors - the easiest decision to make

11. Quality of paint - tried many brands and found considerable differences in quality of pigment load and binders. Stayed with all Daniel Smith paints for this palette because of intensity of color and price value.

12. Versatility of the pigment - some pigments produce special effects more readily than others, like making backruns or blossoms or responding to 'salt' on the wet paint, etc.

To the left of each color name in the chart above is the actual pigment in that particular color - Hansa yellow is made of Pigment Yellow 97 - PY97; Lunar Earth is made of Pigment Brown 11 - PBr11, and so on. Each manufacturer labels their paints with their own names - hence Phthalo Blue might be called Winsor blue or Joe's Blue depending on who's making it. Knowing the actual pigment ingredient in the colors helps prevent duplicating colors.

This new palette is porcelain, made by Cheap Joe's, and so far I really like it. It's very heavy, especially now that it's full of paint. The puddles of color in the mixing areas stay put and don't bead up like they do on plastic palettes. And I like the feel of the brush on solid mixing surface, which easily cleans up and doesn't seem to stain at all. None of that will make me paint better. It's just what I noticed about the palette that I liked.

Every artist develops personal color choices, and the ones shown above are just my preferences of which colors I want to paint with right now. Daniel Smith paints have been my top choice of some time now, due to their quality and intensity of color. (I promote Daniel Smith paints, a lot, to my students, but their prices are the same for everyone - and I actually like that they have no 'spokesperson' getting free paint in return for advertising.)

Other brands that I also like include M. Graham colors, made with honey as a binder so that they really don't harden, even after months of sitting, Holbein, Winsor Newton, Schminke, American Journey, Sennelier and Da Vinci. M. Graham paints don't always dry on YUPO paper if the paint's applied heavily, so I've given up using them.

Generally, mixing brands of paint within a palette works fine. The main differences seem to be the intensity of color, the amount of filler in the tube, and the quality of how well the pigment if formulated. One company's Cerulean may be the same pigment as another's, but the color on the paper can look markedly different because of the binders and quality of production. Cheaper brands seem to have more filler and less consistency in the way the paint is ground. Also, be aware that student grade paints like Sakura, Cotman, or Rembrandt seldom produce the same results as professional grade do.

So what would you think is the most important thing to buy the best of if you're painting with watercolors.... paint, brushes, paper, palette....? Happy painting.



Can't wait to paint in the morning - with my new porcelain palette from Cheap Joe's, all set up and ready to go. Each winter my existing palette gets overhauled, with some of the seldom used colors replaced by new ones to try. This time, it's a brand new palette with several new colors. It was a great project to work on while enjoying the inauguration events on TV today.

Each well was filled up with paint, then tapped down into its well with each color being a bit concave in the center of the well to help it stay moist longer. It will never look this clean again....

A color chart is in the works which will be posted soon, too. The palette will stay permanently in my studio because it's too heavy to travel with. Happy painting.



These are some of my paintings which were inspired by a visit we made to the Olson house in Cushing, Maine, several years ago. These have all been posted before.

Andrew Wyeth painted over 300 paintings while at the Olson house where he had an upstairs studio of sorts. The house is now listed on the National Registry.

Several different
techniques are shown here, including dry brush watercolor, YUPO and watercolor, and batik watercolor on Ichimatsu washi. The boots and the buoys were not at the Olson house, but added to the paintings for interest.

One of the paintings that Wyeth was so recognized for was inspired at the Olson house, too - Christina' s World. He saw crippled Christina Olson crawling to her flower bed across the expanse of grass to pick some flowers and quickly did a rough sketch of her. Later his wife, Betsy, posed as Christina when he painted the painting.

No matter where Wyeth had lived, he would have painted what was around him. It seems many artists travel far and wide to find resources to paint, going on photo jaunts and vacations in hopes of finding their next inspiration. I know I'm that way. But Wyeth's paintings show that the emotional attachment to what we know the best can be the most ideal inspiration of all.