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View Poll Results: number of colors on my most frequently used palettes
1 color: I do only monochromes 0 0%
2 colors: only two colors in my palette please 0 0%
3 colors: I'm a primary guy/gal 4 1.24%
4 colors: one color for every quadrant, or not 6 1.86%
5-6 colors 24 7.43%
7-9 colors 39 12.07%
10-14 colors 91 28.17%
15-20 colors 71 21.98%
21-26 colors 54 16.72%
27-32 colors 18 5.57%
33-38 colors 10 3.10%
39-52 colors 9 2.79%
>52 oh, thank you for not making votes public! 19 5.88%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 323. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-28-2016, 12:49 PM
KeeverMacLeod KeeverMacLeod is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

According to my "Anarchist Palette," I use six colors. But 15 more wells are filled with permutations of each two-color combination, i.e. convenience mixtures, so I guess it's 21.

That said, my palette is extremely fluid and I rarely use the same thing consistently. Not counting convenience mixtures, I'm calling it at an average of 20 colors per painting.
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Old 08-28-2016, 12:50 PM
coolside coolside is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

I would say "18 to 24" but those are the paints I know quite well, I carry tubes outdoors and when I have decided on what is happening I put a suitable range into my palette (currently an enameled cake pan.) Every time I try to trim it down, the tube I left at home is the exact one I need. Very inefficient ...
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Old 09-02-2016, 03:12 PM
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GreyMermaid GreyMermaid is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

The palette I use the most contains 31 Daniel Smith colors, but I could probably narrow it down to 16-17ish, I'll admit I have quite a few "convenience" colors


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Old 09-03-2016, 05:28 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Every experienced painter has their own preferred palette of paints. We all paint differently, and so our palettes will differ as well. It's fun to see what other painters use! There's no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to choosing paints.

For my students I recommend beginning with either a 6-color secondary paint palette (3 primaries and 3 secondaries) or a 12-color tertiary palette (3 primaries, 3 secondaries and 6 tertiaries).

A 6-color palette provides a substantial increase in mixing power over the three paints in a primary palette, specifically in the intensity or purity of the most saturated mixed hues.

In addition, the three secondary colors are complementary colors to the three primary paints. This creates a fundamentally new color relationship — a pair of colors that are complementary to each other! A 12-color tertiary palette expands the range of complementary colors.

A 6-color secondary palette or 12-color tertiary palette forms a strong foundation for adding other favorite colors to build a highly personal palette.

Sling paint,
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:30 AM
tamiea tamiea is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

My two recent palettes small for sketching and studio I have only 9 colors. I used to think I need lots of colors. My first DIY sketching palette had more than 20 colors. However lately I realised that I basically use just couple of them anyways

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Old 09-06-2016, 06:33 AM
pezk pezk is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Quote:
Originally Posted by virgil carter
Every experienced painter has their own preferred palette of paints. We all paint differently, and so our palettes will differ as well. It's fun to see what other painters use! There's no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to choosing paints.

For my students I recommend beginning with either a 6-color secondary paint palette (3 primaries and 3 secondaries) or a 12-color tertiary palette (3 primaries, 3 secondaries and 6 tertiaries).

A 6-color palette provides a substantial increase in mixing power over the three paints in a primary palette, specifically in the intensity or purity of the most saturated mixed hues.

In addition, the three secondary colors are complementary colors to the three primary paints. This creates a fundamentally new color relationship — a pair of colors that are complementary to each other! A 12-color tertiary palette expands the range of complementary colors.

A 6-color secondary palette or 12-color tertiary palette forms a strong foundation for adding other favorite colors to build a highly personal palette.

Sling paint,
Virgil

Which 12 colors do you reccommend for beginners? And would you reccommend the same colors if they wanted to paint outside in a sketchbook? Thx for the info. Im trying to decide which colors are important for painting outside.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:37 AM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

I typically recommend either a 6-paint secondary palette (3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors) or a 12-paint tertiary palette (3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors, 6 tertiary colors) because of the favorable gamut (mixing lines) and chroma.

I find these palettes good for painting almost any subject, anywhere, since they allow for painting with saturation or neutrals, plus they introduce pre-mixed complementary colors which help with contrast.

Go here, and scroll down to "tertiary palette" for more on the 12-paint tertiary palette: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color13.html#tertiary

Sling paint,
Virgil
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:55 AM
pezk pezk is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Thx Virgil
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:32 AM
briantmeyer briantmeyer is online now
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pezk
Which 12 colors do you reccommend for beginners? And would you reccommend the same colors if they wanted to paint outside in a sketchbook? Thx for the info. Im trying to decide which colors are important for painting outside.

I would listen to Virgil.

I set up a watercolor guide showing the "better" pigments more often recommended here. This isn't every pigment, I omitted ones I'd suggest you avoid, as well as some very good pigments solely because they are so unique ( Daniel Smith has a lot of worthwhile speciality colors, too many to test or mention ). The idea is that you can pick one from each page as it's broken down by color and bias. There are indicators of what the pigments properties are, as well as the main brands that sell it ( at least the first 8 examples )

You can use this to either pick pairs of primary colors, or to get primary and secondary colors, or just get a single primary color if it's middle ( this means it works well going on both direction on the color wheel ). The last two pages is earth tones.

This isn't complete, it's designed to make choosing pigments easier especially for beginners while at the same time helping you avoid issues later on, except for the ones marked in red, everything listed should be very good choices which you won't regret.

I would think an outside palette is able to give you a full range of color, but since you don't have as much time, you'd want to avoid paints focused on glazing. (If you take too long, you lose the light as the sun moves, therefore you tend to paint directly and can only wait for things to dry but once ) Lot of the plein air artists I know use weaker, very granulating colors like ultramarine and burnt sienna. ( However I do plein air with staining colors, but this is a lot harder to manage, and I'd not recommend it as your first palette )

You can use the chart to figure out which colors are liftable, it's the opposite of staining and most often it's the granulating colors.

( Some of the teachers here happen to have very good palettes for beginners, love CharM's palette for example, which is probably a better idea, as it's a starting point which lets you figure out what direction you want to go in )

The choice of palette is really part of your voice, it's the first set of choices that define your style.

Last edited by briantmeyer : 09-08-2016 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:29 PM
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MarialenaS MarialenaS is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pezk
Which 12 colors do you reccommend for beginners? And would you reccommend the same colors if they wanted to paint outside in a sketchbook? Thx for the info. Im trying to decide which colors are important for painting outside.

Those that can cover with their combinations larger selection of subjects.
I would suggest a palette with the following colours. ( and I'll add some combinations/mixes at the end to get and idea of the combinations you can get with it).

1/Lemon Yellow
2/R. Sienna
2/B. Sienna
4/R. Umber
5/B. Umber
6/Phthalo Green OR Veridian
7/ Green Gold
8/ Violet Red PV19 or Quin. Magenta ( generally a magenta red)
9/ Quin. Rose
10/ Madder Lake OR W&N Perm Alizarin Crimson ( a dark red)
11/ Cobalt OR Ultramarine ( I prefer Cobalt )
12/ Prussian blue of Phthalo Blue ( I prefer Prussian).

The Lemon yellow and all the earths mixed with Phthalo / Veridian and/or Phthalo/Prussian and/or Green Gold give a huge range of greens ( earthy or bright, or brownish ) perfect for landscapes.

The Blues mixed with the Rose or the Magenta give various violets. Mixed with the red give plums and and browns. ( perfect for florals)

Madder Lake Deep with Phthalo Green gives a very true to its hue Indigo Blue.

Magenta mixed with Phthalo gives an almost black dark.
The above mixed with B. Umber gives you a perfect Sepia.

R. Umber is a great darkener

Lemon Yellow with red gives you some quite bright oranges.

Cobalt ( or Ultramarine) mixed with B. Sienna gives you nice grays.

Phthalo and Cobalt gives you a bright turquoise.

These are some of the colours you can get by mixing these colours. If you make a colour swatch of course you can see all the combinations you can get .
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:37 PM
KeeverMacLeod KeeverMacLeod is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarialenaS
11/ Cobalt OR Ultramarine ( I prefer Cobalt )
12/ Prussian blue of Phthalo Blue ( I prefer Prussian).

You know what's weird? I feel the exact same way lately. Maybe it's because I followed Dali so closely for the longest time and god knows he loved Cobalt Blue. The reason for Prussian's more complex though. Maybe it's the wavering behavior of the color, the enormous drying shift, the flecky texture, etc. It could be that I enjoy some mystery with my colors.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:16 PM
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Quote:
Originally Posted by virgil carter
I typically recommend either a 6-paint secondary palette (3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors) or a 12-paint tertiary palette (3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors, 6 tertiary colors) because of the favorable gamut (mixing lines) and chroma.

I find these palettes good for painting almost any subject, anywhere, since they allow for painting with saturation or neutrals, plus they introduce pre-mixed complementary colors which help with contrast.

Go here, and scroll down to "tertiary palette" for more on the 12-paint tertiary palette: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color13.html#tertiary

Sling paint,
Virgil

Interesting, Virgil. I bow to your superior experience. But at the same time, I point out, as I'm sure you know, the Handprint website and many other resources might chide you for your lack of accommodation to the human eye's flawed perceptions. We need more greens and fewer yellows, because we use oppositional pairing to distinguish red versus green. Thus, a three-color selection of "primary" colors (the usual CMY, or RYB) makes the mistake of leaving out too much distinction in the middle-wavelength cone receptors in our eyes. I have been off and on playing with modifying my thinking about primary colors, to try to learn to think in terms of four primaries (although this is not really ideal for PHYSICS and certainly disagrees with old Miss Higginbotham my third grade art teacher). Those four would be Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Green, Quin. Rose, Azo Yellow (roughly). And then, to extend beyond that, if I choose to double them up, try to get a "warmer" and a "cooler" of each (as with the traditional "dual-primary" palettes which many people recommend), and finally, then, maybe add some convenience mixtures such as darkeners, neutralizers (indigo, Payne's Gray, etc.), and whichever other extreme hue I might need at one or another angle, choice dependent on subject which I intend to paint. Your thoughts?
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:05 AM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Rather than looking at paints from a personal preference perspective, let's look at them from a historical perspective and from the perspective of mixing lines and gamut.

Historically, during the Renissance, "primary" colors were viewed as four colors: yellow, red, blue and green. This was because the more traditional red, yellow, blue 3-color primary set had difficulty in mixing violets and even more difficulty in mixing greens. The reason was the mixing lines, and gamut, between these paints was very long and passed close to the center of the color wheel, ensuring neutralized mixtures.

Adding a green to the 3-color primary set improved the mixing lines and gamut, especially for mixing a range of saturated greens. Your four color primary set is virtually identical to the CMY primary set with the addition of a green.

The biggest disadvantage of a 3-color primary set, and of a 6-color warm/cool primary set is the same disadvantage which plagued Renissance painters: difficulty mixing violets and more difficulty mixing greens.

Look at the length of the mixing lines using a 3-color primary set for violet and for green in this color wheel from Handprint. Pick any yellow, red and blue and connect them with a line. Look at the length of the lines and where the lines fall with reference to the center of the color wheel:



Now look at the difference in mixing lines and gamut for a 6-color secondary set of paints and a 12-color tertiary set of paints. The difference is much, much shorter mixing lines and greatly improved gamut. This is why these two palettes are able to produce both saturated mixtures and neutralize mixtures with ease.

Hope this helps!

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Old 09-28-2016, 03:48 PM
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MarialenaS MarialenaS is offline
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeeverMacLeod
You know what's weird? I feel the exact same way lately. Maybe it's because I followed Dali so closely for the longest time and god knows he loved Cobalt Blue. The reason for Prussian's more complex though. Maybe it's the wavering behavior of the color, the enormous drying shift, the flecky texture, etc. It could be that I enjoy some mystery with my colors.

Prussian feels to me more natural. Phthalo Blue looks more artificial as a colour to me.
Cobalt is cool literally and metaphorically.
But each and everyone perceives differently each colour.
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:46 PM
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Re: How many colors on your palette?

I prefer Prussian blue as well. It has character and it granulates, which I love.
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