Choosing a Palette

Q.I’ve taken many workshops and every teacher suggests a different palette—it’s costing me a fortune! I want to come up with a palette all my own. Any suggestions?

A. Eventually, every painter needs to find a personal palette. Now that you’ve spent a fortune experimenting with different colors, you need to sort out the ones you use the most.

Drag out all of your paints and create a deluxe color wheel. Include everything, even the colors you don’t use often. This way, you’ll have a full range to choose from.

From here, break it down to the colors you find yourself using most often. You’ll need to have at least one paint for each primary color—select two or three for the colors you use the most in your work. Be open to new colors, but as you begin to create your own palette, try to keep it limited to no more than 24 colors. I’ve found that if you use any more than this, your palette can get confusing.

Martha Newfield is an artist and instructor living in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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