Pigments, Oh My!

10:05 PM

Various color swatches, palettes and necessary pieces
of flotsam and jetsam
I recently had lunch with Kathy of Catching Happiness, and was describing my very lengthy, messy, all-consuming process of choosing/updating pigments for my palette. She said, "You should have taken a picture!"

Well, KJ, this one's for you!

These photos were actually taken after the worst was over. I had and still have whole pans, half pans, tubes of paint and scraps of paper with a bazillion swatches scattered everywhere, and I do mean, everywhere!

I tend to go all out when I start to change my palette around and it's all I focus on until I make my decisions as to the changes I'm going to make.

"Your passions sweep you away."
Fortune cookie from dinner
over the weekend.
They must have peeked into the studio!
How often have you gone into the art store and fell in love with a tube of paint based on a romantic name (Rose Doré) or the paint sample above the rack? All excited, you rush home, paint it out on a piece of paper and either think, "oh, pretty" or "ugh, not what I thought."

Maybe that doesn't describe you, but it sure describes me!

I have more tubes of paint than I care to count for those reasons.

One of things I've learned over the years is that until I know how well a pigment will play with the others ALREADY on my palette, it doesn't matter if it's a "pretty" or an "ugh."

Taking the time to test out the newcomer with my core pigments and see if I get any new, glowing mixes I can't live without is the only way to know if a pigment will make the cut. I sometimes find that I already have a color on my palette that does as good or better job than the new pigment.

There are a couple of pigments on my palette just because I love the mixes I can make by adding them to some of my tried and true colors. As stand alone pigments....they "ughs."

I highly recommend doing color swatches of all the core colors you have on your palette as well as any new pigments you might want to try—bet you'll be surprised!

Testing out possible color choices for Rainier Cherries
All images can be clicked to enlarge!

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19 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Ah... so many things to comment on here. I love looking at all your colors!! Like a kid in a candy store. Speaking of 'candy' -- the photos of all the paint swatches and tubes of paint reminds me of dumping out a bag of Halloween candy to see 'what you got'.

    Enjoyed reading the fantastic 'fortune'. Perfect for you!!

  2. Love these pictures--so stimulating. Thanks for letting us in on a part of your process!

  3. I just made the ideal pallette for me for the NOLA LIVE trip which I had to cancel---but have not done the photoing of it or other palletts I have---BTW seeing your collection made me feel less guilty about what colors and pallettes I have "tried"...I am going to do as you have spoken of to sort of bring ease to my life at the moment---I find when I do color swatches etc I get into another world and before I know I I am out of breath---which seems odd. I find your writings etc extrememly helpful and am thankful I got this emeail...winna

  4. What a yummy photo. Even the "mess" is inviting with all those paints and colors. You taught to make color test swabs, which is so useful. Thanks for the reminder which is a great way to freshen our own colors.

  5. I laughed because I certainly do purchase colors by their names. I go into the store to choose a color I know I want and come out with several unknowns just because they have these romantic names. Tee hee... You look fairly organized with your paints what with all of those swatches. That is more of what I need to do because the new colors often sit because I don't know what to do with them.

  6. Yes, Claire! That's exactly how I feel when I go to the art store (kid in a candy store) and when I get home, I can't wait to check out my "haul!!"

    Hi, Catherine! Hope it helps.

    It's all good, Winna, stay positive.

    I'm glad you find painting swatches helpful, Shelley! It is an excellent way to know whether a new color is going to work or not.

    Ah, Lisa, sounds like we're kindred spirits!

  7. Great post, Laure - there's something there for each and every one of us to relate to! And it helps ME, at least, to feel a little bit more normal, even if 'normal' is a bit subjective, heh heh!

  8. I looked at the first picture & thought "ooh, lucky her, look at all that!!" But then I realized I have all that stuff, too! lol
    I really need to organize like you.

  9. I've bought new paints but don't end up using them. I have trouble when I have too many choices. I become paralyzed and can't do anything with any of them. I try really hard to keep from answering to those names and colors that call so sweetly to me!

    If I had colors on my table, and palettes, as you do here I'd end up throwing them all in a bag and stashing them. That's why I love the palette you chose for your classes so much. It gave me a quite useful, simple one to use for almost anything I do.

  10. Wow.. so many choices. Its almost like going thru your closet and putting away your winter clothes and bringing out your summer ones. Do you change your pallet with the seasons?

  11. Hey, Linda, how are you?! Are you painting? Glad you liked the post.

    Thanks for the chuckles, Carol, I think there are a good many of us that can relate....we're just reluctant to admit it!

    Timaree, gets those paints out and get busy playing! That's how we learn.

    Hey, Cris, I will sometimes add in a couple of extra pigments based on where I'm going (blues=sea; golds, ochres=autumn) but for the most part, I don't change my palette for that reason. I change it because I'm bored or dislike a color. Are you drawing?

  12. Even the photos get me psyched--all that wonderful paraphernalia associated with w/c's. Such fun. That's a lot of palettes! I have about that many, too, come to think of it!

  13. I wish I could be that organised! I'm with you on the names of pigments and hues - they are delicious. My faves though are the old-fashioned ones like rose madder, gamboge tint and crimson lake. I think that dates me! LOL

  14. Goodness, I haven't changed my palette in years! Loved it so much I purchased a lot of backups! The other day I was thinking of having a paint sale. The urge to explore is starting to set in. Bravo for always doing paint tests. That's part of the fun :)

  15. Oohhh I love it. All those colors. It just makes me drool.

  16. You are so virtuous, experimenting with all those colors. I think I'd be totally overwhelmed if I had that many to choose from . My weakness is paper. When I finally get to a decent art store I can't get back to the car without some mystery paper.

  17. I love the way your palettes look - awesome! I know exactly what you mean about color. I would also buy paint because I love the color.

  18. I'm guilty of buying based on an intriging name! Even when I was young I would pore over the crayons and think about their names. I love looking at your paints - you'll have to share your new palette with us!

  19. What a really delious paint fest! Love your photos!


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