Daily Paintworks (DPW) | About DPW

Palette For Watercolor

I see in various videos that artists often prepare their palettes by filling the wells with all colors. I’ve never felt the need for this and usually just fill the wells as I need them.
If you do this, please tell what are the benefits of it? Is it usually possible to reactivate mixed paints, even if you wait a long time before using them again? I don’t want them to get dry and cracked.

I assume you are talking about watercolor. I don’t know why you would fill all wells if you’re only going to be using some of the colors, I never do. I only replenish the colors I know I’ll be using that day. Dried up watercolor can be reactivated, even after a long time, but in my experience there’s nothing better than paint fresh from the tube.

Yes, you can reactivate watercolor. I will often premix a lot of various colors, warms grays and cool grays for example, then use those to modify washes and other colors within the painting. Or I may put a full range of colors down in the wells, a warm and cool version of red, blue, yellow orange, earth colors etc and use those in other color mixes.
It really has to do with how you paint and knowing how achieve certain colors palettes. I may have a green mix and need to tone or gray it down so I’ll add a bright warm red it.
Larger painting I’ll make color mixes in cups and can use them throughout the painting over several days by adding water back into the cup if the water has evaporated from it.
As Mineke says straight from the tube is better much if the time. It is easier to get heavier, more paint saturated washes that way.

If you are using high quality watercolors, such as M. Graham or Daniel Smith, they shouldn’t crack. They are easy to reactivate and if you have the wells all prefilled and dry, you can take all your colors with you in just one small palette. It’s ideal for visiting open studios or painting en plein air. It also conserves paint.

1 Like