Limited palette

21 September, 2014. I get a lot of questions about the limited watercolor palette that I use. This is my attempt to answer some of those questions. To begin with, my color choices tend to change throughout the year. They also change as I learn how to use certain pigments in new ways – for instance, I’ve only recently added the ultra-powerful Viridian back into my limited palette by pairing it with Yellow Ochre to knock it back in mixes.

This graphic represents the color choices I’m currently making, with the majority of mixing taking place using those pigments indicated in bold type; the two underneath are subordinate mixers. I’ve also indicated two infrequently used pigments (bottom left).

Please note that I’ve used industry coding to indicate the pigments used. Manufacturer names tend to be all over the place. For instance, the PR206 that I’m using would have you believe it is the rather fugitive Alizarin Crimson when in reality it is a very stable (and useful!) Quinacidrone.


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