Thursday, 7 November 2013

My pigments sorted!

I don't like plastic pans or half pans rattling about in a drawer, so I had a 16 pan brass tray made and have put all my other favourite studio colours in that.

I also have a lot of paints that I only use occasionally, and have been trying to work out a way to store them that is neat and functional for occassional use at home, but that also allows me to take them to my classes or workshop when I am teaching. These didn't need to be in a palette, but some sort of good storage system. I am very grateful that Malcolm Carver, a fellow member of the AWI and president of the Ku-ring-gai Art Society, presented me with the answer with the flower shaped Aquarelle palette he designed.

This palette is intended to encourage his students to work with a limited palette of 12 colours and to mix them on the paper rather than in the palette, so there is no 'mixing' space. They hold up to approximately 2 full pans of paint, can keep paint moist, keep paints covered when not in use and are neat and portable. Perfect!

I have set up three of them with my extra pigments - colours that are perfect for a particular painting...but otherwise gather dust. It may be possible to mix the colour, but the properties make them useful and can't be created by mixing others. Or they are just convenient. :-)

Palette 1 - this is the one I sometimes take with me when plain air painting as an 'extra', especially if going away on a painting trip. It contains two cadmium yellows and yellow ochre in case I need a more opaque yellow for foliage or flower stamens; beautiful granulating primates greens for foliage, raw sienna for a glow in the sky without making greens, cobalt for sky (or Greek Island roofs!) or in case I just need a really bright cobalt blue, Blue apatite genuine for stormy skies or water effects, Lunar black and Piemontite for granulating effects and Graphite for a 'painted pencil' look, Purple magenta to make gorgeous purples or magnolia colours.

Colours are (clockwise from top) Cadmium Yellow Deep and Cadmium Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre,  Jadeite Genuine, Green Apatite Genuine, Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Blue Apatite Genuine, Lunar Black, Graphite, Piemontite Genuine, and Purple Magenta (Schmincke).

Palette 2 has some interesting granulating and neutral colours. I tend to take this one to my classes and demonstrations.
Colours are (from top centre) Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Deep Scarlet, Perylene Maroon, Rose of Ultramarine, Purpurite Genuine (added later), Shadow Violet, Smalt Genuine (W&N), Sodalite Genuine, Serpentine Genuine, Green Gold (added later), Transparent Brown Oxide, 

Palette 3 contains a dozen extra 'bright' colours - useful for botanical paintings in particular. The cadmium reds work really well with cadmium yellows for tulips, Manganese Blue is lovely for real granulation and snow in Europe! Viridian gives a granulating and liftable alternative to Phthalo green, Imperial Purple is convenient etc. This one also goes to demonstrations and my classes.
Colours are (clockwise from top) Hansa Yellow Light, New Gamboge, Bensimida Orange Deep (DV), Pyrrol Scarlet, Cadmium Red Scarlet, Cadmium Red Medium, Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Purple, Imperial Purple, Phthalo Blue GS, Manganese Blue genuine (OH), Viridian (DV),

My palette set-up now. My brass studio palette, my 'extras' studio brass tray, my plein-air Herring palette, my tiny brass travel palette and three Aquarelle palettes.


  1. Thank you, yes please to a list of your pigments for special purposes.
    I love those palettes by Malcom Carver....his website says "Free Shipping" but I bet that's only for local shipping, not the USA. Later I'm going to email and ask, they loo so practical.

    1. Hi Susie - OK have updated with a list of pigments and some idea of what I use them for. All are Daniel Smith unless otherwise stated. Let me know if you need more information. I am thinking of doing a complete post and review of all the colour I have tried but there are so many I don't know if that is of interest...

      Check with Malcolm about the shipping to the US. Perhaps if you are able to order enough of them (for a group?) the shipping would be OK. I actually have another in my studio with 4 different brands of Ultramarine, different brands of Burnt Sienna, etc. They have certainly solved my storage issues!