I've talked about my setup and working with a limited palette before. But the last time I did so was in February of 2011 - since then, I've made some new discoveries and thought a few merited sharing.
I work with a Masterson Stay-Wet palette using a mix of Golden Heavy Body and Open Acrylics(*). I set my palette up the same way each time I paint, and can generally get 4 or 5 days of painting accomplished prior to having to set up anew.
During this time I will occasionally mist the surface with a spray bottle (of water). I also have a designated spot (between the Light Green and Quin Crimson on the lower right) where I place one small drop of essential oil on the palette sponge, to counteract any mildewy odor from the palette or paints as they age.
And what started out as limited palette experiment with 10 colors and white has now expanded to include 22 colors and white. A complete list is included below.
I have chosen to limit the open acrylics (highlighted with an *) included on my palette for a couple reasons. One, they are water thirsty by nature, and slowly puddle and creap across the surface. And two, I am an impatient painter and often need to work overtop a dry surface. I have found that using too high a concentration of the opens keeps my surface too wet for too long, resulting in mud.
I am still challenged (or feeling thusly) with my ability to properly see and mix greens. In an effort to build a greater variety of them, I introduced three tubes of green to my layout earlier this year.
I still don't use black. I have found many wonderfully rich and dense mixtures using the colors primarily on the upper and lower right edges of my palette - I prefer these combinations for the shadowed areas of my compositions.
And while I have a pool of white paint on my palette, I use that mostly to tint the yellows, pinks, blues and violets. I use those tinted mixtures to create my higher keyed values - I rarely use white straight from the tube for my lightest lights and I rarely use white straight up for mixing those lightest lights. To me, adding white seems to suck the color right out of the paint, the result looking dull and chalky.
Ok, off the computer and back to the easel! Thanks for reading along and happy color mixing to those of you that indulge!!
Starting with the white in the upper left corner and moving clockwise, my colors are as follows:
Light Ultramarine Blue
Light Turquoise (Pthalo)
Manganese Blue Hue
Pthalo Blue (Green Shade)*
Terra Verte hue
Light Green (Yellow Shade)
Cadmium Red Dark
Cadmium Red Medium*
Cadmium Red Light
Quinacridone Red Light
Cadmium Yellow Dark
Cadmium Yellow Medium*
Hansa Yellow Light*