Sunday, 15 January 2017

MAC palette as watercolour palette - all my favourites - can you guess what they all are?

There are many hundreds of different watercolours available, made with hundreds of different pigments and pigment mixtures. Over many years, I've been exploring the various pigments and colours available to find the ones I think are the most interesting and/or generally useful. 

I have a rather large collection of tubes and many are squeezed into more portable storage palettes, and of course I have my painting palettes. Here I thought I'd go through my favourite watercolours, and explain why I like them. I don't necessarily paint with them all and of course never in one painting!

I was looking for a large palette that would hold many different pigments. I didn't need a mixing area in this one, as it was not for painting, but for demonstrating and explaining the differences between various colours and pigments. So I didn't look in traditional watercolour supply stores, but makeup stores. MAC makes empty pro palettes for makeup artists to fill with lipsticks. They are rather flat wells, so don't hold a lot of paint, but they don't need to. They are inexpensive, another bonus.

I bought a 24-colour lipstick palette. You could, of course, spray the lid section white and use this as a painting palette of 24, but I bought an extra 24-colour insert, creating a 48-colour storage palette.

Here it is filled with my favourites. Some of you would be able to make a pretty good guess at what colours are here. 

But I won't leave you totally in the dark about what they are - here's a paint-out of the top section. I've now updated this post with the full palette names but just cover the caption to test yourself :-)

Top row: buff titanium, hansa yellow light, hansa yellow medium, new gamboge PY153 (very like hansa yellow deep), quinacridone gold, Da Vinci benzimida orange deep, transparent pyrrol orange, pyrrol scarlet.
Middle Row: Pyrrol crimson, carmine, quinacridone rose, Schmincke purple magenta PR122, imperial purple, moonglow, sodalite genuine, indanthrone blue.
Bottom row: ultramarine, cobalt blue, phthalo blue red shade, cerulean chromium, phthalo blue green shade, blue apatite genuine, Old Holland manganese blue genuine, cobalt teal blue

And here is the bottom section. There is one spot empty. It's probably the spot for Potter's Pink. Not a colour I use a lot, but a rather beautiful pigment. I'd have to rearrange the colours to put it in though...

Top row: cobalt turquoise, viridian, phthalo green BS, jadeite genuine, Jane's black (pyrrol crimson + phthalo green BS), perylene green, undersea green, green apatite genuine.
Middle row: blank, sap green, serpentine genuine, rich green gold, yellow ochre, goethite, raw sienna, quinacridone burnt orange
Bottom row: transparent red oxide, burnt sienna, Indian red, piemontite genuine, burnt umber, raw umber, Jane's grey (ultramarine + burnt sienna), lunar black.

Of the 47 colours, 42 are Daniel Smith, 2 are my own custom mixes using DS paints and 3 are other brands - a Da Vinci, and Old Holland and a Schmincke.

I haven't included any cadmiums, even though they are excellent pigments with specific uses. I have them in my other storage sets!

Well done to Bob who pretty much nailed the guessing below :-)


  1. I'm gonna' say...

    Buff Titanium
    Hansa Yellow Light
    hansa Yellow Medium
    Hansa Yellow Deeep
    Quinacridone Gold
    Benzimida Orange Deep (Da Vinci)
    Transparent Pyrrol Orange
    Pyrrol Scarlet
    Pyrrol Red ?
    Pyrrol Crimson
    Quinacridone Rose
    Imperial Purple
    Sodolite Genuine
    Indanthrone Blue
    Ultramarine Blue
    Ultramarine Finest (Schmincke)
    Phthalo Blue (RS)
    Prussian Blue
    Phthalo Blue (GS)
    Lunar Blue ?
    Cerulean Blue
    Cobalt Turquoise
    Blue Apatite Genuine
    Phthlo Green (BS)
    Jadite Genuine
    Hematite Genuine
    Perylene Green
    Undersea Green
    Green Apatite Genuine
    Sap Green
    Green Gold
    Rich Green Gold
    Yellow Ochre
    Geothite Brown
    Raw Sienna
    Burnt Sienna
    Quinacridone Burnt Orange
    Transparent Red Oxide
    Indian Red
    Piemontite Genuine
    Burnt Umber
    Raw Umber
    Jane's Grey (Your Mix)
    Lunar Black

  2. Well Bob if anyone was going to be able to almost get them all in one, it would be you :-) So close that I'll give all the answers...
    Buff Titanium yes
    Hansa Yellow Light yes
    hansa Yellow Medium yes
    Hansa Yellow Deep it could have been but is the single pigment New Gamboge (almost identical in colour but a little different in behaviour)
    Quinacridone Gold yes
    Benzimida Orange Deep (Da Vinci) yes
    Transparent Pyrrol Orange yes
    Pyrrol Scarlet yes
    Pyrrol Red ? no - Pyrrol Crimson
    Carmine yes
    Pyrrol Crimson no - Quinacridone Rose
    Quinacridone Rose no - Schmincke Purple magenta PR122
    Imperial Purple yes
    Moonglow yes
    Sodolite Genuine yes
    Indanthrone Blue yes
    Ultramarine Blue yes
    Ultramarine Finest (Schmincke) no - cobalt blue
    Phthalo Blue (RS) yes
    Prussian Blue no - cerulean chromium
    Phthalo Blue (GS) yes
    Lunar Blue ? no blue apatite genuine, but they are similar
    Cerulean Blue no - Old Holland manganese blue genuine (discontinued)
    Cobalt Turquoise no - cobalt teal blue
    Blue Apatite Genuine no - cobalt turquoise
    Viridian yes
    Phthlo Green (BS) yes
    Jadite Genuine yes
    Hematite Genuine no - Jane's Black (custom mix phthalo green + pyrrol crimson)
    Perylene Green yes
    Undersea Green yes
    Green Apatite Genuine yes
    Sap Green yes
    Green Gold no - serpentine genuine
    Rich Green Gold yes
    Yellow Ochre yes
    Goethite Brown ochre yes
    Raw Sienna yes
    Burnt Sienna - nearly - Quinacridone burnt orange
    Quinacridone Burnt Orange - nearly - transparent red oxide
    Transparent Red Oxide nearly - burnt sienna - you had them all :-)
    Indian Red - yes
    Piemontite Genuine yes
    Burnt Umber yes
    Raw Umber yes
    Jane's Grey (Your Mix) yes
    Lunar Black yes

    Game over!
    Aren't they gorgeous?

  3. Yes, they are gorgeous :-) I love, love, love your colors ..................and ice cream.

  4. Wonderful collection of colors, and I love your ingenious palette!

  5. So lovely! And tempting. And inspiring 🌺

  6. Hi Jane :)
    Maybe I'm wrong.. but I can't find Indian red in the pictures nor in the descriptions below them...

    1. You are right - it's between burnt sienna and Piemontite. I'll add it into the caption.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hi Jane ... When I recently purchased New Gamboge from Daniel Smith, I noticed that it's a two pigment version (PY97, PY110). Is this single pigment version you've often mentioned in your blog from an older stash or is it available from DS?

    1. Yes it is now - both good pigments. One of the (few?) advantages of living on the other side of the world is that we sometimes tale a while to get new stock, so if i hear a favourite pigment is being discontinued I generally search a few tubes of the old stock, even if the new formula is perfectly fine. So this is old stock of the PY153. I also have a supply of the two pigment versions of Sap Green, Undersea Green and even the discontinued DS cadmiums.

  9. So helpful and once again - inspiring! Thanks for alllll your posts.... Your passion imbues your knowledge and wisdom.

  10. That is such a great idea to use the make up palette for this! Love it :)

  11. Thank you so much for your posts. They are clear, practical and inspiring. I’ve been struggling with the range of DS colours and others I’ve acquired over the last three years, and now I can see how to organise and use them to better effect in my work.