I make color charts for my art materials. I got into the habit in art school, they are always helpful. I can see at a glance the color as it comes out of the tube as well as what it looks like as it is brushed out with water. I organize it by brand name to help me find the tube I want in the pile. Most days I have the tubes separated by manufacturer.
Watercolor is pretty forgiving on the palette. I use glass and old microwave plates. I can squeeze out paint, use what I want, let it dry out, wet it down again. I can be messy, if you get a bit of one color in another it doesn’t do much. I tend to keep similar colors on each plate, but it’s loose.
When I have visited oil painters studios, they always seem to have super organized palettes. They keep their paint in one place, and mix them up in another area. I’m learning there are reasons for this. I’m also learning it’s not natural after getting habituated to my messy watercolor palette approach.
I know a lot about color theory in general, what got my attention was Scott knew about color in specificity. Pigment by pigment. I went to the Gamblin website and found guidance for laying out my palette according to the color chart that uses warm and cool versions of each hue. I didn’t completely follow the rules, I added Torrit Grey (a special color Gamblin makes every year from left over pigments as a recycling project for Earth Day) to the center for shades and tints. It started to give me a better understanding of how the colors mix.
I started out OK with another piece of glass to mix on. I’ve noticed a couple of things. First, oil paint is not forgiving about getting paint mixed together. A tiny drop of paint of a different color affects what you have on the knife or brush. Way more than in watercolor. My messy tendencies are problematic.
No more just letting the paint sit out to dry and then resuse. Instead I have paint covered pieces of plastic that have a lot of mess making potential. Getting them lined back up with the colors would be easy if I kept the colors in the same places as suggested, but I’ve noticed I have a lot of bad habits of just grabbing the next piece of clear glass. Shifting things around. Forgetting to completely clean off my knife before dipping into the next color.
All of this is pretty easily accommodated with some thought and slowing down. Just harder to get into a flow state where I am not having to think so much about the technical.