How I set up my paint palette

How I set up my paint palette

I love getting a glimpse into another creative's process.  We all do things differently, and there is always something to learn from each other.  I thought I would share with you how I organize my paint palette. 

studio of beverly gurganus fine art

I learned how to paint with oils at a local visual arts center, and until then I had never used oil paints.  Acrylic was my choice at that time, but by the time the semester was over, I developed a love affair that is destined to last a lifetime.  The way the paint flows and blends together, the ability to work fast or slow (I paint slower) due to paint's slower drying time, and the richness of the color makes it my perfect medium.

color paint palette

The first day of class with fresh unused paint tubes was so intimidating and exciting all at the same time.  Like I said oil paint was new to me so I feared it would be harder to work with than acrylic, but I was excited to learn a new medium. 

You guys, when I try something new, I read the instructions and then follow them to a "T".  I guess that's why I keep YouTube in business with all my tutorial watching haha.  My professor talked about muddy and chalky paint, work dark to light, fat over head was spinning so fast that all my painting experience thus far went right out the window.  Trying to follow all the rules stopped me in my tracks.

It didn't take long for me to get over the fear of the medium, and I learned how to work with all the "rules", but as I gained confidence and experience, I began to break a few of those rules. 

One thing (well this thing) that has stuck with me is setting up my palette.  The above photo was how I was taught to set up my paint palette with yellows on the left, reds along the top, blues to the right, and neutrals (white and Black) along the bottom.   You know they say learn the rules and then break them, but if it ain't broke...  

I know fellow art students who have since found a different way to set up their palette in order for it to better fit them, but this way has just stayed with me.  It just works!

studio of Beverly Gurganus

Not only have I adopted this way of setting up my palette, but I stick with this color palette with the exception of a new color here in there for experimental purposes.  Even though I have tried a few new colors; I find myself coming back to these 12 colors.

There isn't a right way or wrong way to lay the colors on your palette, and I have seen a variety of methods from artists such as lining all the colors along the top of the palette.  We are all just as unique as our art so find a way that works best for you and your painting style.

Happy Painting!


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