t Right before I left for vacation, I took a 2-day color workshop with Jane Blundell. The topic was how to build a watercolor palette. Now, I believe that anybody who even remotely is interested in watercolors struggles with this. In my case, when I got the sketching bug 3-4 years ago, I ended up purchasing all the colors than an artist had on his palette. I was heading to Vermont for a quick intro workshop to sketching, I did not have any watercolors at all, I liked the the look of this artist\s sketches - bright and lively - the paints were at a discount and they were a good brand (Holbein). But somehow, I was never quite happy with the colors I mixed.
Jane explained how to check the pigment composition of a color. The basic colors on the palette should be individual pigments. That has two main advantages:
Looking at the composition on some of my tubes, I also noticed that some paints had black in them. No wonder I did not like how they interacted with the sketch(Payne's grey and Indigo). I also had semi-transparent colors that I hardly used because they muddied my mixes. They were eliminated from the palette.
I added titan buff, Jane's grey, a third red, phtalo blue and goethite. Jane worked with each participant to sort out their palette based on the colors they already had. Jane;s grey is a premixed grey - ultramarine and burnt sienna. The idea is to make our own most used mixes and have them ready in the palette. That saves time and frustration when one needs to add a touch of dark or whatever. It is also cheaper in the long run.
In addition to the basic colors, there are also convenience colors.These are personal choices, colors that speak to each individual, or convenience colors (colors that can be mixed from the single pigments but that one may chose to have as premixed colors to save time when painting, especially on location).
We then painted a pear study to apply the newly acquired knowledge.