My old palette

My favorite palette has always been Mijello with 33 wells. It’s a folded, plastic palette that is really lightweight and can hold all of my colors. It has a big mixing space, which I don’t really use because I mix my colors on all sorts of ceramic plates. However, that mixing area comes in handy when you travel with this palette, so it’s great it’s there.

Mijello palette with 33 wells

What I was looking for

I noticed that with time I’ve been using fewer colors. 33 colors on my old palette are A LOT, but in fact, I use maybe a half of them. Recently, I’ve been using only my top 12 colors. I thought I didn’t need a palette that holds 33 hues if I use half of them. I’ve been looking for a new palette that would fit my needs:

  1. It should hold around 15 colors;
  2. It should have a nice mixing space so that I don’t have to use additional plates;
  3. It should have a cover to protect paints from dust;
  4. It should not be too big.

I have a big American Journey Cavalcade porcelain palette, but it is huge and heavy. It has 30 wells for colors, and it measures 11″ x 16″ (28 x 41 cm). It is just too big for my purposes. I needed something smaller, with fewer wells, but still big enough to look good in my tutorials. 

American Journey Cavalcade porcelain palette

New palette

I’ve been researching for a long time to find something that would suit me best. Finally, I ordered a smaller version of the American Journey Cavalcade. It’s called Sojourner Porcelain Palette. It measures 9″ x 12″ (23 x 30 cm) and includes 17 wells for color, which surround two large 4″ x 7″ mixing areas.

I thought the size was perfect, and it had everything that I needed. The palette can be ordered at Cheap Joe’s (US), Jackson’s Art (UK), and probably on Amazon.

Sojourner Porcelain Palette

Helpful swatches

Setting up a new watercolor palette is one of those situations when color swatches come in handy. Before choosing colors for this palette, I played around with the swatches. They helped me not only to select the colors, but I could also arrange the colors and think which arrangement would be best.

selecting colors to a new palette

Color choice

I knew that I must have my top 12 colors in this palette. However, the palette has 17 wells, and I don’t like to leave empty wells, so I had to select 5 more colors. I was sure about 2: I wanted to include two greens: Green Gold PY129 and Winsor Green Yellow Shade PG36. There were still 3 spaces. I thought, since green is a complementary color and I don’t have complementary colors in my set, I would add orange (Transparent Orange PO107) and violet (Winsor Violet PV23). I thought it would be nice to have ready-made complementary colors. Why not. I decided to add Yellow Ochre PY43 in the last free space.

Note 1: I use Winsor&Newton paints. One of the exceptions I used from a different brand was Translucent Orange PO71 from Schmincke. That is a beautiful warm orange. However, I wanted to keep the paints from one brand this time, so I thought I would use Transparent Orange PO107 by Winsor&Newton. Schmincke’s orange is brighter and warmer compared to W&N’s. But I thought I would give it a chance. I don’t use a ready-made orange a lot anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Note 2: I may replace Ultramarine Blue with Ultramarine Finest by Schmincke Horadam in the future. Ultramarine is a wonderful one-of-a-kind color. It’s hard to find a similar alternative. However, most Ultramarines are granulating. I can’t say I’m a big fan of granulating colors. If I have a choice, I prefer non-granulating ones. Schmincke’s Ultramarine Finest is known as the least granulating ultramarine blue. I still have a lot of W&N paint, but when I run out of it, I may go for Schmincke’s version.

Here you can see how I arranged colors in the new palette. I hope it will be comfortable to work with this palette. I can’t wait to use it for the first time!

17 colors arranged in a ceramic palette
choosing colors for a palette

A cover

This palette comes with a plastic, transparent cover. Exactly the same that comes with the big American Journey Cavalcade palette, so I knew what to expect. This cover turns yellow after a while, which doesn’t look attractive. However, I don’t mind that. It’s just a cover and its role is to protect the paints from dust. I’ve seen a nice idea of making your own cover with a foam board. I’ll think about it if I can’t stand looking at the original one :)

How much paint

I know there are many different opinions on how much paint you should squeeze into the wells. I fill the whole space. I don’t squeeze just one small blob because I know I will need to refill the well again, so I don’t see the point. Paints will dry no matter how hard we try to keep them moist, but that’s not a problem at all because watercolors are reusable. Before painting, I always spray the paints with clean water, and they are ready to go even after a year. The wells in the new palette can easily take a small 5ml tube of paint, and that’s the amount I put into the wells.

paint in a ceramic palette
paint squeezed in a ceramic palette