Sunday, December 2, 2007


First, I dump all of the tubes of watercolor that I'll draw from in a pile on my painting table. That's fun! Then I begin to sort.

Actually, I can reach for my core palette anytime. I keep it separate and it looks like this:

My core palette has consisted of mostly M. Graham tubes with some critical Daniel Smith supplements. The M. Graham colors are Azo Yellow, Cad Yellow Light, Quinacridone Rose, Cadmium Red Light, (Alizarin Crimson), Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue, (Cerulean Blue), and Viridian. The Daniel Smith colors are Quinacridone Gold, Green Gold, and Cobalt Teal Blue. The two in parentheses are ones I go back and forth about whether I really need in the core or have substitutes for.

Here's my sorted pile of the Daniel Smith and Old Holland tubes after some discards. This is more than I need and duplicates some of the M. Graham colors but it's a first pass through. I'll go through these colors in more detail in tomorrow and the next day's posts.

Each time I build a new palette I discover that I've changed my mind about certain colors and that my needs have changed, too. One thing that does not change is the one color I could not live without:

Daniel Smith's Quinacridone Gold. It's versatile, illuminating and I sometimes will sometimes use it to lay out a preliminary structure of a watercolor. I also use it when I teach my Basic Watercolor workshop for a monochromatic value demonstration.

And because it's fun to add a little sparkle, I'm bringing back these Daniel Smith metallic watercolors. When I first used them, I had a few challenges managing the medium and then discovered that a little gum arabic sets them up nicely for smooth brushing.

I bought the set of eight at a discount to experiment but my favorites are Pale Gold, German Silver, Copper and Autumn Gold.

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