How to bring Freedom into your Art

Today I’m sharing with you the most important secret in my artistic life!

And it might just be the right thing for you to do too!

Nowadays it’s very typical for people to choose a ready-made box of paints to paint from and this is definitely a good option for beginners. I’m personally very fond of a couple of paintboxes which I’ve come to know over the last few months. But tubes were my first love – and will be my last!

As you make progress in your art, you’ll most likely want and need more space and freedom than a box of half-pans can offer you.

There’s more than one way of achieving this, but here is my way, which is almost certainly the most price-conscious and for me, the most liberating.

I choose to use as my mixing palette a large (about 15 x 18 inches) white tray, known as a “butcher’s tray”. Here’s a link to one on Amazon which comes as a pack of 6, and one which is more sturdy also, but I’m sure you could find this at any dollar store for pennies. I bought mine in one of those places in Spain for a euro.

Another alternative is to purchase one of the ready-made palettes which are intended for use in this way. Here are a couple I can recommend.

On to that tray I squeeze out blobs of my chosen selection of colors – about 26 of my favorite, tried and tested pigments from various manufacturers. This way, it’s you who gets to choose the colors you paint with, not the paint manufacturer. If you want seven different premixed greens on your palette because you are going to paint a tropical jungle, then you can go ahead and have them. You won’t find that freedom in a box of paints. Ever.

My favorite manufacturers of tube paints are linked here:

Once you have a starter set you can add colors which you learn about along the way. Some of my favorites which aren’t found in sets are these:

My Choice of Paints

Here’s a list of the colors I regularly use. The brands are not important, the colors are!

Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Winsor or Quinacridone Violet, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Blue, Sap Green, Olive Green, Winsor Green or Hookers Green, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Sepia, Indigo, Paynes Grey, Lamp Black, Chinese White.

These colors alone will enable you to paint absolutely anything and everything you ever want to paint. There are thousands of other paint colors which are fun to have and use, but if you are on a budget (and who isn’t) I can’t recommend a better approach than to buy first of all a beginners starter set of tubes by one of the traditional manufacturers, and then add to it bit by bit the other colors I recommend.

And don’t forget, you can pop a lid on the tray and store it away, and the paint is ready and waiting for you to come and spritz it with water – and it’s as good as new! So nothing is ever wasted.

Why not give it a try?

Watch my video now on How to set up your watercolor palette


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