Palette Layout

Gamblin has an interesting article posted on their website about color; it describes color theory and discusses using color theory as a principle for laying out your colors on the palette: 

The article suggests a way of putting your paints on a color wheel and then opening up the color wheel to create a linear layout for the paints on your palette.

I made a diagram of the paints I wanted to use most of the time on my palette, and did a similar layout of the paint on my palette, going from yellow to orange to red to violet to blue to green.  Here’s a photo of the paint on my palette:

Obviously, a lot of the paint has been used and mixed, but you can see that the layout follows the Gamblin design.  The yellow is at the left of the palette to keep it separate from the blues and greens that would green the yellow color.  The reds and oranges are in the middle.  I used a warm and a cool pigment for each color and added an indian yellow as an extra yellow and a bit of cobalt blue between the warm ultramarine and the cool manganese blue.

“Flume Pond in Winter” 16×12 oil on canvas board

I used this palette for a painting of a coastal pond near my house. The pond is ringed with Phragmites and other marsh plants; there is a connection visible in the distance to the bay and a sandy strip where water exchange takes place between the pond (mostly fresh water) and the bay (salt water).  There is snow at the edges of the pond and in the marsh.

I think the palette layout helped me in choosing and mixing colors.  I don’t usually put violet on my palette, but I found myself using it as one of my darks because of it’s location on the palette.  The manganese blue made a nice sky color; I used mostly ultramarine, mixed with white, for the pond water.  Although I did put two oranges on my palette, I think I only needed the raw sienna.   The painting is bright and colorful, but it was a bright winter day on the marsh. I’m going to try using this palette layout for my paintings this summer to see if it continues to please me.


One thought on “Palette Layout

  1. Hi Gram!

    I’m sorry this reply is a bit late. I wanted to let you know that I’ve been following your posts these past few weeks, and I like certain shades of some brands and other shades from different brands. For instance, I really like the greens and yellows of the Daniel Smith paints, and I like the rich browns from the Gamblin paints. Like you mentioned, the fact that the Daniel Smith yellow ochre separated is frustrating. However, from the tone of your posts, it sounds as though Gamblin is your favorite, despite the fact that there were positive aspects of the other brands.

    Perhaps you could order the colors from each brand that you liked best?

    Love you, and looking forward to more posts!

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