Palette - Preparation of Colours
Watch this video painting lesson on how to prepare oil paint
(Green colours) on your palette.
Palette - Preparation of Colors
Many artists don’t give enough thought to the choices they make about their palettes. They simply squeeze and
mix their paints haphazardly on a randomly chosen palette from the local art store.
After all, it’s just a place to hold your paint, right? Not necessarily. Just as there are various advantages
and disadvantages of different types of palettes (wood versus glass versus
plastic), the preparation of colors is also something worth thinking about before setting up your palette.
An organized palette makes the experience of painting a lot smoother. It’s more than just a place where paint is
held. What truly matters in the end is your painting, but with an organized palette, you can get from beginning
your painting to that important finished piece more easily and with less waste.
First, you need to decide what kind of colors you’re going to need. Most artists find that using a warm and a
cool shade of each of the three primary colors, along with a good white paint serves them fine. A good, full set of
primary colors could include quinacridone rose and cadmium red for the reds, ultramarine blue and phthalocyanine
blue for the blues, and cadmium yellow and azo yellow for the yellows.
Titanium white is one of the most popular and well-liked whites. Many artists also use some browns straight from
the tube instead of mixing them themselves, with burnt umber and burnt sienna being popular choices that can go a
Really, it comes down to what you’re going to be painting. If you’re painting a lot of trees and nature, it will
obviously make sense to have some brown paint as a mainstay on your palette, but if you’re exclusively painting
swans, it may be less important.
Usually, mixing your own paints is preferred to buying
pre-made secondary colors, but sometimes it could be handy to have a purple or a green within arms reach before
mixing. It depends on how much of it you’re going to use and for what. If only one small detail of your painting is
purple, it may not be worth it to create it from scratch. This is the time to consider using a pre-made secondary
Finally, one of the most important aspects when preparing colors on a palette is where to put them. It may not
seem like something important; as long as the color is there and not interfering with other colors, it should be
The answer is no.
A logical organization system for your paints will save you time and hassle in the long run. The reason is that
with more experience under your belt, you can start going back and forth from palette to canvas with an almost
instinctual ease. If your red paint is always moving around on the palette between different paintings, you’ll have
to look down and locate it every time.
But if you always have reds in the same place, you’ll be able to instinctually reach for the red with you need
it. This ease is valuable. It makes the whole painting process smoother and more creatively freeing.
An organized palette is a valuable tool for any painter. It requires very little time to set up and will save
you lots of disturbances in the long run.