I know what you’re thinking. Art is a spontaneous thing. You don’t need organization for painting. You don’t want to curb the flow of your creative genius with constraints of organization and tight methodology.
I get it.
Setting up and maintaining an organized palette is the key to painting efficiently and effectively. You don’t need to interrupt your creative process hunting about for the right shade of yellow because it’s exactly where you always keep it.
When your colors are placed in the same location each time you paint, you’re not groping around looking for the correct hue, or mistakenly using the wrong combination of colors. This consistency is just one more little way to feel comfortable, in charge and in control of this exciting and somewhat scary new endeavor you’ve decided to undertake.
How To Set Up Your Palette
There’s a couple of ways to set up your palette. Neither one is the best method – only you can decide which is best for the way your creative mind processes. Try each method out for a while to see which setup fits in with your painting style.
Color Wheel Layout
Lay your paints out around your palette to correspond to the color wheel. Using this method, you’ll learn to find analogous or complimentary colors easily, and in time, it becomes second nature to find just the right combinations of hues for your composition.
Warm VS Cool Layout
Using this method of palette organization, you set warm colors on one side of the palette and cool versions of your colors on the opposite side. For example, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and Phthalo Blue are considered ‘warm’ colors, while Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow and French Ultramarine Blue and deemed ‘cool’ tones.
Once you’ve determined which is which, lay your colors out on each side following the color wheel from yellow to orange and red to purple and then blue and finally green.
A Palette For Every Medium
Regardless of the medium you use, the basic organization remains the same. There are tons of palettes in every shape, size and price range imaginable. The palette that’s best for you is the one that works the best for your painting style.
Here are a few of the most popular styles you might want to try out!
Take a look at these…
Art Advantage Non-Stick Plastic Palette
This is the classic artist’s palette, updated with today’s technology.
This non-stick plastic palette is 11″x15″ and has a solvent-resistant finish that makes it easy peel off dried paint.
The white color makes it easier to judge your colors, and the classic hole makes it easy to hold the palette while painting.
Jack Richeson Grey Matters Paper Palette
If you’re a regular neat-nick, a disposable, paper palette might be right up your alley. This 50-sheet pad of non-soluble paper is 12″x16″ and is a neutral gray that makes it easy to see the tone you’ve blended.
The paper is acid-free and has a smooth surface that won’t absorb moisture, oil or solvent. You can use it with oil, acrylics, casein or alkyd paints.
Now let’s move onto Watercolors…
John Pike Watercolor Palette
This palette has been used by professional watercolorists for years and is one of the most popular palettes for water medium. This 15-1/4″x10-3/4″ tray is made of injection molded plastic and is a sturdy, white surface that’s perfect for all your watercolors.
The tray features 20 paint wells and has a deep lid that seals tightly to keep paints moist and fresh. The lid can double as additional mixing space, and there is a large paint mixing area in the center of the paint tray.
Artria Aluminum Water Color Palette
For artists with limited space or who like to take their equipment with them, this is a great little travel palette. The folding metal tray has a baked enamel finish, and it snaps securely for travel. The enamel also cleans well and doesn’t stain, so your blending surface is always a good, clear white background.
When closed, the tray is a compact 3-1/2″x8-1/2″x3/4″. When open it measures about 7″x 8-1/2″, and the 39 paint wells are slanted to keep paint corralled in place.
The closable thumb hole is perfect for artists who paint holding their palette, and the light weight ensures your hand doesn’t get tired from holding it for long periods.