How many colors in my palette?

I am celebrating one-year anniversary of watercolor painting. Even in such a short time, I gained some experience, some of which surprised me a lot.

For example, I would never believe how much difference in results paper makes! At the moment, I am still balancing on the edge of price/performance rate, letting exclusive brands for later.

But what about paints? I love colors! Do I need to buy every existing tone? NO!

Today I’d like to share how my experience with color selection developed.

Yellow – most popular, most used

I used three full-pans of yellow in a year! Mostly because of mixing greens. After that I decided to add green to the palette, the yellowish-green to be more exact.

Anyway I consider practical having two yellow pans in the palette at the same time. One for mixing with blue and the other for mixing with red or separate use. Otherwise you will wash the pans and money too often.

Both of my yellows are cadmium lemon – not really cold, but certainly not a warm tone of yellow. Although it is nice to have a warm yellow to mix with red, it is horrible to get a nice green with it!

Originally, I had yellow ochre in the yellow scale. I won’t fill it anymore because it can be easily mixed just like orange.

Red – hell or paradise?

If the cold/warm definition matters somewhere, it is definitely red. I am not completely satisfied yet, but I am in the process of trying. On the warm scale of red I am currently using Ruby (PR 170) and it may be subject to change in the future. I am open to your experience and recommendation.

In general, warm tones of red are suitable to mix with yellow to get peach and orange tones, but it is almost impossible to get nice purple with it. Then you need a cold red, whether it is called rose or magenta.

I have Quinacridone Rose (PR 122) and I am extremely satisfied! It can be beautifully mixed with both blue and yellow, even if you don’t get a strict orange.

Blue – my source of green

As a person, I am not a fan of blue. I like turquoise and love everything green, and that’s what my paintings look like.

Originally, I bought only Ultramarine (PB29) and suffered from trying to mix a nice green. Impossible, because Ultramarine has a reddish tone inside. It is better to use it solo or with magenta/rose.

Soon I added Azure Blue, which is turquoise tone of blue (PB15+PG7). I love it solo and in the mix. There are beautiful tones on both, yellow and red (magenta) scale with it.

Today I added Cobalt Blue (PB28) to the palette, which will replace Ultramarine in the future. Cobalt Blue doesn’t have the reddish tone inside, so it is more suitable for mixing. Hopefully.

What’s left? Not necessary, but sitting there

Brown. Originally, I had umbra in my palette, but I was disappointed with its greenish tone inside. That’s why I used to mix brown from red and black. Today I added Mars Brown to the palette and we will see.

Violet. Easy to get it from Rose and Azure Blue. Anyway I added Quinacridone Violet (PV55) today – to complete 12 pcs and to try.

Black. As I said, I used to mix black with red to get browns, and black with azure blue to get misty green like for eucalyptus or sage leaves.

Gold. Metallic color of the Aztecs for special effects.

So, how many of colors do I really need?

Yellow in two pans, red and rose (magenta), azure blue for sure, cobalt blue perhaps. It makes 6 pans. The other 6 are for pleasure. It means you can get a huge number of colors even on a limited budget.

Then, you can spend the money for high quality paper!

In the picture above you can see factory color codes as well as the code of their pigments. The rest are mixed colors or better to say some of them.

Love and hugs,

Ivana

P.S. Since beginning, I have been using the White nights brand of paints.

Mixing green

Actually, I don’t have any green in my palette, so mixing green is a must. Especially if you love to paint natural motives like I do. Getting the right hue of green then becomes an exciting challenge.

Before I touched watercolors, I had a clear idea. Green? Nothing complicated, just mix yellow and blue, and done! Ha, ha, it didn’t work so easily when came to practice.

My inner researcher brought me to play with options and create swatches of various mixed green. Finaly I was surprised how many of them I’ve got.

From inside of my limited palette I used following colors (White nights brand):

Yellow (PY154)

Cadmium Lemon (PY35)

Ultramarine (PB29)

Azure Blue (PB15:3, PG7)

Yellow Ochre (PY43, PY154)

Umber (PY43, PBr7, PBk7)

Ivory Black (PR102, PBk7)

OK, I have found something about pigments too. My inner researcher never sleeps 🙂 And yes, next time I will order colors with this in mind. But now, I work with what I have.

What do you think about the range of greens?

I love mixing yellow with the azure blue in both, light and dark values. Using ultramarine brings more olive tones, which is not bad as well, and to be honest, maybe more natural. But I still love the vibrant mix of the azure blue 🙂

Out of my expectation is the mix of azure blue with black. Such beautiful smoky blue-green! And useful as well. This one is highly placed on my preferences too.

How about you? How do you mix green if you do it? Any tips for a beginner like me? I would appreciate comments, sharing experience and a good advice.

Stay happy and creative!

Love, Ivana

Water brush yes or no?

Before I begun to play with watercolor painting 3 months ago, I spent a huge amount of time looking for the right supply. Not really cheap and questionable quality, it would increase my respect or fear of the wet technique. But not really expensive, because I didn’t know if or how long I would stay with watercolor. Finally I decided for the White nights of 12, and two round brushes 6 and 12.

However, I was fascinated by the possibilities that the market offers. Possibilities I couldn’t even imagine until I saw them! Because I wasn’t interested in brushes and paints before, I suddenly felt like Alice behind the mirror. So many temptations struggled with my fear. But you already know what won 🙂

Among all those miracles, I also met a water brush. It caught my curiosity, but I didn’t felt like I must to have it.

Then, it started to warm up outside, and I thought about painting in the fresh air. Not that I planned to paint landscapes! I rather liked the idea of sitting outside somewhere in the shade of a big tree and putting my fantasies or exercises on paper in the middle of green.

Trying to connect dream with reality, I was bothered by the idea of two water glasses there and operating with them. So I came back to the water brush.

And you know what? I love it! I didn’t expect it, but it’s true. The water brush met my expectation of painting in the shade of trees, but there is much more.

Due to the water tank, the brush body is more robust and fits better in my oversized hand. I may also have a fine motor skills disorder, but this brush gives me a feel of control over what I paint. Finally!

I love to hold my water brush not because of the water it contains, but because of the amount of material I can lean on. In fact, I still use a small glass of water even outside. It doesn’t get dirty so quickly, so the water brush saves paint consumption as a result, which is another benefit.

For painting of a large area I can still use a common brush, because a bigger size of brush brings a thicker holder.

Someone once told me that I had the character of a researcher. But he didn’t tell me that I would use this skill even for choosing painting supplies. I’m not easy for life 🙂

The painting above is made by water brush in the middle of beautiful old park nearby. Just exercise how to paint strawberries, the first attempt.

Hope you’ve had some nice excitement too, regardless the corona status.

Love, Ivana