31 October 2015

My Favorite Watercolors

One of the questions I get asked the most is which watercolors I use.

Over the years I've learned through experimentation which colors I prefer, which ones I like the most and how they behave and mix with each other.

When I buy my supplies I prefer to buy in open stock, and although it could seem it's more expensive, in the long run is not. I never buy sets because they normally have a lot of colors I don't like and I don't use and end up buying more...

All my watercolors are artist's grade, single pigment except two, the pigments are nice and rich and I don't get "mud" when I mix them. 
I buy them in tubes to refill empty half pans, only occasionally I have bought half pans.
As I mention, I have only colors I like, they are mainly Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolors, some Daniel Smith, a couple of MaimeriBlu and a couple of Holbein.

I have put together two watercolor sets, one to use at home and one I carry with me in my bag all the time.


The big one is the one that stays in my painting room.
 This is an empty box I bought in 2008 from Daniel Smith, unfortunately they don't sell it anymore.
I just found this one here, called FOME Empty Watercolor 24 Half Pan Box, it looks the same as mine before I modified it.
 It was originally design for 24 half pans but I bent all the divisions inside and now I can fit 39 half pans.
Here's a photo with its color chart, I hope is big enough for you to read it. It has the name for each color, pigment code and brand. 




My little set is a Winsor and Newton Bijou box. 
It originally came with only 8 half pans, but I removed all the metal bars and I can fit 15 Winsor and Newton half pans, which are slightly smaller than the ones you buy empty, otherwise it only fits 14.
This little box is not sold any more by Winsor and Newton, but I found this one here, called Whiskey Painters Standard Palette which looks pretty much the same as mine, but comes empty.
Find below
a photo with its color chart, again, it has the name for each color, pigment code and brand. I have recently replaced the Payne's Grey for Winsor and Newton Designers Gold Gouache which I like more than the grey, and I can mix the grey ;)

With the colors I have in this little set I can mix almost any color I need/want.


I hope this answers many questions, but please leave me a comment if you have any other.

Colors update 2016 here.

21 comments:

  1. THANK YOU! This is a great guide for first timers like me.

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad you found it helpful Evelyn.

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    1. Thank you Surface Nest! I'm glad it's helpful :)

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  3. Lovely images and interesting read!

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    1. Thank you very much Shevaun!! Images captured and edited with my professional equipment too ;)

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  4. Thank you sweet lady 😊. I'm on my way now to buy some watercolors, inspired by you and others on Instagram. This is a huge help.

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    1. You're welcome Carolyn Christmas! You're going to have so much fun, enjoy!!! :)

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  5. It's always interesting to see the palettes of other artists. I think I will add a few of the Twilight colours now too. I am inspired! Thanks for the comment you left on Instagram. :)

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    1. I love to see other artists' palettes Kathleen. It took me some years to realize it is very personal :)
      Have a look at the Dessert Collection as well, the transparent orange is gorgeous!

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  6. I love the little color charts you created they are truly works of art! Happy painting!

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    1. Aww thank you so much Melissa! I love painting those charts :)

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  7. Querida Mercedes, esto es absolutamente genial, sobre todo para quienes recién empezamos a jugar con acuarelas y andamos un poco perdidos con marcas, colores, tonalidades, etc. Muchísimas gracias por compartir, por el detalladísimo post, por los links y... por ser como eres! :)

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    1. Muchísimas gracias Isabela!! Me alegro mucho de que mi post sea útil. Te agradezco tus palabras lindas :) :)

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  8. this is so helpful for someone like me who is just starting with watercolours. sorry if this is confusing, but do you let the tubed paint try in the pans? it's probably clear from the article, but I'm just confused because I read on multiple other webpages that if you let the tubed paint dry you couldn't use it again...

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    1. Yes I refill my half pans with watercolors from tubes, and a lot of people do this. Watercolors are water based paints they can always be rewetted when they are dry, doesn't work with paints like acrilycs. Some people don't like to do it, they say the composition of pans and tubes are slightly different but I have never read you can't rewet watercolors...

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  9. Hola Mercedes. Lo que haces me parece hermoso. Me siento feliz por haber descubierto tu trabajo y tu obra...pura belleza! Con toda esa inspiración he logrado empezar a hacer pequeños mandalas a pulso. Me siento especialmente orgullosa de ellos y no porque sean bonitos ni elaborados sino porque hasta hace una semana yo era incapaz de trazar una simple línea.
    ¡Gracias por hacer fácil lo que creía imposible!

    Bea.

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    1. Tu comentatrio me hace feliz y le da sentido a lo que hago, muchas gracias Bea!!

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