Now that you have your paper stretched, it’s time to paint. But first, you need to set up your palette.
Sounds easy enough…squeeze out the paint on the palette and begin. However, if you give this simple task the proper attention to begin with, it will save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.
Palette: Any palette with a large mixing area(s) and a cover will do. I use both the John Pike and Robert E. Wood pallets. I try not to invest too much money in them as my palettes seem to get a lot of abuse. I have slammed the rear hatch of my SUV on one; left another on the roof of my car, etc.
Paints: I recommend that you use only tube paint of good professional quality. I use Winsor & Newton, but Grumbacher, Grumbacher Academy, Winsor & Newton Cotman, Holbein, Da Vinci, and many others are also good.
My current palette is: Sepia, Vandyke Brown, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, New Gamboge, Lemon Yellow, Burnt Sienna, (or Indian Red) Rose Madder, Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Red, Ivory Black, Sap Green, Winsor Green, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Indigo Blue, and Antwerp Blue. Place your warm colors on one side, and cool, or their complimentary colors, on the other side.
Squeeze out a generous amount in each well. To keep your colors moist and supple, open your palette at least once a week and mist your colors with water. They will remain a soft consistency, ready to paint when you are.
A word of caution: Dark moist places, like the inside of your palette, can be a breeding ground for the dreaded mould. That you definitely do not want growing in your paint wells. Place a moist small flat sponge and a copper penny in your palette to prevent mould. Make sure it is an older coin of real copper. One final piece of advice: There is no need to purchase every color the paint manufactures are offering. Learn to mix the color you need. A little ‘Watercolor Wisdom.’
Next month; Basic Washes and Blending