A new 18-color watercolor palette

I’ve been using a muted palette lately (mostly earth tones, many opaque or semi-transparent), so I thought I’d put together a mostly transparent palette. My starting point is one published by Daniel Smith on their website, by painter Brenda Swenson. I’ve already modified a few of the colors – initially because I didn’t have some, and some to reflect my own needs.

Here is her color selection as I’ve laid in out in a small travel-size palette:

18-color palette
18-color palette

I’ve made up painting strips on Arches paper, 140lb off-white. I’ve done two studies so far with the palette, and I’ve decided that Anthraquinoid Red and Permanent Yellow Deep are really wonderful colors so I’ve removed by replacements for those (Organic Vermillion and Azo Orange). I also need to add Burnt Sienna and Mayan Blue, so something will have to go. Haven’t decided yet. The black bag is handy for keeping the colors together, separate from my master stash of watercolors.

Here are the two studies. One is after a painting I saw with much better technique; another is a technique for making trees and shrubs using a mixture of lights, darks, and a little bit of complementary color. Overall, I want to add a few deeper colors, and probably can remove some of the more ‘candy’ colors. Mostly, I need to do a bunch of mixes with this palette to see what the possibilities are. I think that is the biggest change when you try a whole new palette: what can I do to get the colors that aren’t in the palette??? It’s pretty interesting mixing such vibrant colors; I may need to add a few anchor colors.

bush doodleTwo masted sailboat


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