Setting Up Your Palette



After 30 years as a watercolorist, Tom Lynch realized that he needed something more than the ubiquitous lightweight plastic palette...

He wanted something sturdier, a palette with a bit more “heft” to prevent slipping and sliding. He sought a surface that would keep the colors moist longer and, unlike plastic, would not cause the watercolors to bead and separate. Lynch set out to design a palette that would also be stable, easy to clean, and sturdy enough for the demands of working in the studio.

Tom Lynch is an internationally famous watercolor painter and teacher, and he has authored six books. He understands the needs of artists and knows what makes a great palette.

  • Your brush will glide across the slick surface of this 12" x 16" porcelain palette!
  • Heavyweight for the studio; will not slide around during use - 7lbs.
  • 20 outer wells for color and one large mixing area
  • Large front well for extra colors or glazing puddle
  • Large plastic cover for extra mixing area and better storage
  • Corner holes to hold 8 brushes
  • Porcelain surface prolongs moisture of paint and makes cleanup a snap

"I am always asked, "Where should I place my colors in the palette?" Well, there are two schools of thought that I can recommend.

One ... Place your colors in a manner that represents the color wheel. This way you can easily develop an analogous color harmony for your painting and/or find the complimentary colors easier.

Two ... Place your colors based upon a warm vs. cool theory warm on one side and cool on the other.

Either way, my placement of color has (and continues to) evolve over the last 30 years of painting where I have eliminated one and added another (most recently Permanent Alizarin Crimson). My color placement is close (but not exact) to the color wheel placement theory. I now rely on "feel" for color selection, not placement or nor. For example, I will decide, do I want a brighter, lighter, warm or cool color change?

There is one aspect of color selection I will share with you. I select the brightest color the manufacturer makes. It is easier to dull down a bright color than it is to brighten up a dull color. Plus … I am a painter who loves clean fresh bright variety of colors in a painting [that's why Holbein is the brand I use]. Additionally I use value to show depth (as opposed to warm vs. cool). So I select a light, a medium and a dark value of each (bright) color. Place the colors where you feel most comfortable. As I work with you, we will find the color."