Monday, January 3, 2011

Setting up your watercolor palette

Setting up your watercolor palette
Below is the Jones Palette Kit and methods to set up the palette. 
Included is the Robert Wood palette 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.
 Note that I did not add the Ivory Black to the palette. I will add this as needed. I may wish to place Sap Green in this location 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.
 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 set up a water color palette: I start by placing Warm colors center right and across the top counter clock wise. Cool colors are placed center right and across the bottom, clock wise. Left side row I fill with earth colors. Palette for this palette set up is a Robert Wood. Other Palettes I enjoy are Cheap Joe palette, Stephen Quiller, and the Jones. My Plein Air palette I use is a Charles Reid palette.
Note that the above palette has a strong shine.  The plastic resin will cause the water and pigment to bead in puddles rather than spreading out. Remove this shine by gently using a ruff scouring sponge used for pots and pans or you may also take a cotton ball and fingernail polish remover to to take off this resin.You will also need to do this to your lid as well. 

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.