Sir Mix-a-Lot and the Palette(s)
Since last summer I began exploring watercolor further than in previous years. The main reason behind this was because in June of 2019 I took my first trip to Provence, and I knew that I wanted to do plein air painting. After some thought I decided to leave my oil paint and all it’s equipment behind and opted for a lighter option, watercolor. This began a new found love for a medium I was first introduced to in another plein air painting trip in Italy in 2013. To France I brought two color sets, a Schmincke palette of brown earths, which I made, and the set you see above. This A Gallo set was originally of twelve classic colors, but since my trip, I modified and expanded the color range.
As with any new art material, one should always test things out and get acquainted with it’s possibilities and limitations. I began making different mixtures of greens to help me with the varieties of this hue when encountered in different landscapes. This practice is very valuable to making paintings that are not repetitive. I am guilty of sticking to the same color mixtures and I know my oil paintings tend to have the same tonality. Since I am fairly green with watercolor (pun intended) I thought it would be very helpful for me to understand not only its watery physicality but also how different color mixtures might behave.
I had seen this practice from a talented and popular watercolorist, Liz Steel, and I thought not only does this make a lot of sense but it’s also very helpful. Since last year I have been playing around with color mixtures, which it’s never ending especially when introducing new colors to your palette.
Color has always been my obsession, I can’t get enough of it! Expanding my A Gallo palettes and coming up with a more thorough range was no surprise to me. Above are the color samples of my modified Classic palette and my Naturale (natural earth) color range. The more chromatic palette is the one at the very top of this blog post.
Having a large variety of colors can sometimes make you “downsize” and come up with more condensed color palette that can give you the same amount of punch. I came up with a list of colors for a new set that was based on landscape painting. I have yet to take this one out on the road with me, I’m afraid of ruining the beautiful Cherry Wood palette that holds these colors.
Recently these colors were added to my arsenal, no actual plans of incorporating them into a color palette, I just could not help myself and had to have them. This is the bad thing about working at an art supply store, you have all day to shop!
I hope you enjoyed looking at the messy pages of my watercolor album. To be honest, if you’re a watercolor or just color nerd, this sort of thing tends to be more exciting than the actual paintings. We all like to have an in to the artists train of thought. A few days ago I started filling a new watercolor book which focuses on a new color palette...yes I bought more colors! This new color palette is inspired by J.M.W. Turner, whom I think is one of the greatest watercolorist that ever lived. I have begun mixing colors and laying them on paper, and can’t wait to show you very soon how things are looking.