Notes from “Whitaker on Watercolor” by Frederic Whitaker

Ruddy Maples, Frederic Whitaker, 1973

The Arrangement of Color

Notes from the book, Whitaker on Watercolor, by Frederic Whitaker:

I usually paint daily, so I never throw away the paint in my pans. Twenty minutes before starting I drop water onto the hardened color so the pigment is pasty by the time I am ready. Incidentally, the dirty residue around the paints in the color wells should be cleaned out while the pigment is dry and hard. If you clean the wells while the paint is soft, you will waste quite a bit of pigment.

For my own work I like to have on hand a wide range of colors, though I may use no more than six or seven in a given painting. Actually, it is possible to mix any color or shade with no more than three primaries, but an amplified palette can save time and effort.

The word “palette” describes both the assortment of pigments an artist uses and also the pan or board on which he arranges them. The following list shows my palette and the order in which the colors are arranged:

Ivory Black, Sepia, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Raw Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, Pale Cadmium Yellow, Deep Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Scarlet, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Indian Red, Cobalt Violet, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Windsor Blue, Permanent Green, Pale Emerald Green, Oxide of Chromium, Viridian, Windsor Green.