Setting up your watercolor palette
Left is the Jones Palette Kit and methods to set up the palette.
Included is the Robert Wood palette at the end and the method to set up this palette.
Be sure and read to the end of the post there are several tips, not to miss.
The Jones palette kit. Pictures a little blurry with light reflected off the palette.
I first start by putting the paint tubes in the wells, this way I ensure the correct placement of the pigments. Note how the pigments go left to right following a color wheel. I began with Cadmium Yellow light continuing with adjacent yellow orange hues, red, to red violet. All the prismatic warm hues are on the upper half. The prismatic cool hues are on the lower half. The bottom left to right are earth pigments. I separate them from the prismatic hues. this is a personal preference. Prismatic hues are colors seen when light is shown through a prism. Unsaturated earth pigments do not show in a prism.
Only a portion of the pigment is used to fill the Jones Kit Palette. That's all the pigment it will hold. This is very effective, especially if you wish to put fresh paint in the well for full saturation strength.
Left to right the pigments are: M Graham company and all pure pigment, no mixtures put in a tube.
Cadmium Yellow Light, Azo Yellow, Cadmium Orange, space, Cadmium Red Light, space, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, space, space, Ultra Marine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue or Manganese Blue, Cobalt Teal, Permanent Green Light, Then the Earths along the bottom. Next to P.G.L. is Ivory Black or sometimes I use the mixture Paynes Gray, Indian Red, (just a small tube), Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna and at the end Yellow Ocher.
Space are left so students can add their own favorites. For example a Transparent orange or Winsor Red, or Carbazole Violet or Cobalt Violet.
I will add other pigments as needed, for example using limited palettes of just three color harmonies.
Use Sap Green in one of the spaces, especially when painting plein air.
On the side of the palette I have written the names of the pigment and there quality (o) Opaque (t) Transparent (s) Staining and (g) Granulation. If you change a color the black sharpie pen comes off with finger nail polish remover.
The supplies I use in my classes at the university. Note the foam core board under all the supplies. The foam core is used as a support for the water color paper. On the foam core I will place clear strapping tape to resist the water when painting.
How to fill the wells: Start at the bottom of the well and fill in the pigment corner to corner in a nice even and flat surface. This will prevent water from pooling and creating mold in the palette.
Leave the palette flat with the lid off a few days to set the top of the pigment so it doesn't run into other wells. Do not at this point carry your palette side ways. You will have pigments all over every where. Note M Graham pigments have a binding of honey which will stay soft
and may take a little longer to create a film over the top.
Keep your pigments moist, pigments come out of the well much more vivid and saturated then if they become bone hard. Many a good brush has been ruined trying to get pigments out of a bone hard well of pigment.
The beauty of watercolor is after you have your palette set up you are able to just add more pigment to the well as it becomes empty.
Below is a Robert Wood Palette with wells around the circumference.
The yellow is placed to the center right, then going left and across the top are all warm colors. Back to the yellow center, then going right and along the bottom of the palate are cool colors. When complete the palette looks like a color wheel. My earths are placed along the left side of the palatte. I have a personal preference to have them together.
When setting in a workshop I place the Wood Palette vertically with yellow at the top this gives more room on the table.