Watercolour Paints - Palette and Swatches

I wanted to share with you my new watercolour palette, and talk a little bit about how I organized my paints, which ones I like to use, and where you can find them if you wanted to pick some up!

Winsor Newton Professional Watercolours

 Many years ago, when I purchased my first couple tubes of watercolour, I went the more economical route, and picked up the Winsor Newton Cotman Series watercolour paints. They have a nice range of colours, but I found that the pigments in these paints weren't as good, and it was hard to build up nice deep colours. The Cotman series were very transluscent, which for some needs is totally fine, but I wanted more depth in my paintings. Once I had saved up a little more money to get new supplies, I decided to go to Curry's for the Professional series. For not too much more money, I could see a great difference between the Pro and Cotman series. These still come in a tube, but the colour is richer, silkier and more vibrant. Below is the colour swatches directly from Winsor Newton's basic Pro line (they have more limited edition colours too!)

Currently in my Palette

Here's the list of colours I currently have in my watercolour palette. Not all my colours are the Professional series (yet!) because I wanted to finish up some old tubes of Cotman, and, well, $10 or so a tube quickly adds up! Right now I have 2 folding palettes, separated into two halves of the rainbow. 

Palette One

Hansa Yellow Medium (QoR brand)
Hansa Yellow Light (QoR brand)
Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue (Cotman)
Winsor Orange (Pro)
Scarlet Lake (Pro)
Cadmium Red Light (Cotman)
Alizarin Crimson (Pro)
Permanent Rose (Pro)
Rose Madder Hue (Cotman)
Permanent Magents (Pro)
Cobalt Violet (Cotman)
Permanent Mauve (Pro)
Winsor Violet Dioxazine (Pro)
Ultramarine (Cotman)
Intense Blue Phthalo Blue (Cotman)
Turquoise (Cotman)

Palette Two

Naples Yellow (Pro)
Yellow Titanate (Pro)
Yellow Ochre (Cotman)
Raw Sienna (Pro)
Brown Ochre (Pro)
Gold Brown (Pro)
Burnt Sienna (Pro)
Burnt Umber (Cotman)
Indian Red (Cotman)
Sepia (Pro)
Payne's Gray (Cotman)
Lamp Black (Cotman)
Chinese White (Cotman)
Permanent Green Light (QoR brand)
Terre Verte (Pro)
Hooker's Green (Cotman)
Permanent Sap Green (Pro)
Olive Green (Pro)
Green Gold (Pro

I also have some Winsor Newton Designer's Gouache on hand for my silver and gold needs, as well as black, when I need it to be totally opaque. You could say I have a little bit of brand loyalty when it comes to Winsor Newton. I tried another silver gouache, and did not like it one bit! I also go to Winsor Newton for most of my acrylic and all of my oil paint needs.

Colour Swatch Card

I decided this time around to make a colour swatch card for my files, matching how I laid out the colours in my palette. I found this to be super helpful, especially since there's some new colours on my palette that I've never used before. This gives me a good idea what they are going to look like when dry on the paper. It's definitely helpful when I have custom orders requesting a specific colour palette for their piece. As you can see in the photo below, I've left room on my palette for new colours. Next on my shopping wish list is to expand my blue collection, and to get a richer black. After that, I'm leaning toward a softer grey, softer pink, and a deep purple and brown. It's tough to not want all 96 of the colours available! If I had that many colours though, I'd have to get a mega palette. Right now, I'm using this folding palette, which has 24 small wells for your colours, plus ample mixing wells. My dream palette, to go along with the 96 colours, would be this giant round palette, which on its own can hold 85 colours! It's the only palette I've found that can hold so many colours...plus, if you choose, you can purchase your paints in half pans instead of tubes, and they will fit right into this palette!


If you have any questions about watercolour, feel free to ask in the comments! I'll try my best to answer them, or at least lead you in the right direction! If you have any suggestions for any watercolour paints you've loved, please let me know! I'd love to know what other people use, and love.


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