Sunday, March 20, 2011

how to prep a palette for watercolour painting

Red tulip Series: a Bouquet for Japan
10x8in; 25x20cm
oil on gesso board
this painting's proceeds will be donated 100% to the relieve efforts in Japan

Red Tulip series: 4 beauties SOLD
oil on gesso board
5x5in each, je 12x12cm

Red Tulip series: 'leaning over' NA
oil on board
6x8in; 15x20cm

it seems every artist has his/her own little method of filling a painting palette with the selected tube colours or watercolour pans to create an easy to use set up for the later painting process.
as you might know i am a follower of Chinkok Tan's method using a limited colour palette consisting of the following primary colours:

-hansa yellow light
-red rose deep (quinacridone)
-phthalo blue

often i use 'da Vinci' paints, but any high quality artists brands work well (do not save on your colours and supplies, you will not get the vibrant colours with inferior quality paint making it frustrating and laborous without getting a satisfactory result). i especially enjoy the 'grumbacher' line for its pigment load and creaminess.
yellow seems to be the colour i use more of than red and blue, so the ratio is something like this: 4 tubes yellow, two tubes red, one blue. this has to be taken in consideration for longer painting trips where art supply stores might not be close by.
now, as i stated above, an artist has the choice of purchasing tube colours or pan colours (cakes). tube colours are squeezed out on the palette whereas cakes are put in the brand specific palettes. i don't have much experience with pan colours, hence i write here about setting up a palette with tube colours only.

for a beginner artist it is challenging to pick up the right dose of pigment, so that the brushmark on the paper is neither too dark/saturated (too much pigment picked up) or too light/watery (not enough pigment picked up by the brush).
to make this challenge easier and more manageble, i prep my palette at least a couple of days before the painting day and let the paint dry in the palette.
i kind of create my own 'watercolour cake' this way.
i place the colours from lightest to darkest (yeah, really tricky with three colours, haha).
often i leave an empty well between each colour;
as later, while i'll be mixing back and forth using the three colours, pigment might travel over from the neighbouring colour 'cake'- resulting in contamination of the colour next to it.
if space is limited of course, just place your colours next to each other.

then, once dry, i can easily close the palette shut, put it with my other supplies in the bag and am ready to go without worrying of wet paint running out and dirtying my bag and supplies.
in the photo you see some of my palettes in use.

yes, here i am attaching a photo taken yesterday at my neighbours yard:
even the canadian Maritimes have spring arrive!
thank you for stopping by and god bless!

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