I love tinkering with my palette and switching it up for the seasons. I put together this fall/winter version in my Art Toolkit Folio so that I could play with lots of reds, oranges and yellows plus have some moody darks and easy ways to mix snow. I also tried to have transparent and opaque versions of colors so that I’d have plenty of options.

I intentionally try to fill pans halfway so that I have a little room to work the paint around in the brush — but if too much paint comes out of the tube I just go with it! :)

Here’s the list along with some notes:

DS = Daniel Smith, WN = Winsor & Newton, S = Schmincke

First Row

  • DS Azo yellow (PY151) – a beautiful transparent yellow!
  • WN Cadmium yellow pale (PY35) – I’ve had this tube forever — before I knew much about cadmiums and how toxic they are. After I use this tube up I’ll be looking for a replacement — let me know if you have any suggestions.
  • S Transparent orange (PO71) – the clearest orange I’ve found — it’s so hard to mix this!
  • DS Quinacridone gold (PO48, PY150)
  • DS Raw Sienna (PBr7)
  • DS Chromium green oxide (PG17) – this was on my palette a few years back. I found it in my drawer and it had to come out and play since it makes a wonderful jadeite color when mixed with phthalo green — for much less $$$!
  • DS Phthalo green (PG7)
  • WN Cobalt turquoise light (DS Cobalt teal blue PG50) – one of my all time favorite colors — read more about PG50 here.

Second Row

  • S Cerulean blue hue (PW4, PB15:3) – I had some issues with phthalo blue over the summer, it started acting weird (more on that in another post). I’m trying this one with the hopes that the white pigment will help mitigate the issue.
  • WN Cobalt blue (PB28)
  • WN Smalt (PV15) – this color is great for distant mountains and flowers with lovely granulation.
  • WN French ultramarine (PB29)
  • DS Indigo (PB60, PBk6) – long-time readers may notice that my favorite indanthrone blue is off the palette — but it’s not really since there’s some here in indigo!
  • DS Van Dyck brown (PBr7) – first time on my main palette — I was looking for a shortcut dark brown and this does the trick!

Third Row

  • DS Quinacridone rose (PV19)
  • DS Quinacridone coral (PR209)
  • DS Organic vermillion (WN scarlet lake PR188)
  • DS Perylene red (PR178)
  • DS Venetian red (PR101)
  • DS Piemontite genuine (PIE!) – I’m doing a lightfastness test on this color so it might get swapped out — but it’s here for now. I just love this color, and I found a full tube of it in the drawer that J got me for Christmas one year. Time to use it up!
  • DS Transparent red oxide (PR101)


Here are some swatches — click on a photo to see it larger:

Let me know if you have any questions! — Lisa

Categories: GearPigments


Bob Cochran · September 26, 2022 at 7:08 pm

Hi Lisa, when did you decide to change your palette, and how long did it take you? Do you sit down with an empty palette on the first day of a new season and decide on what colors you will have, or do you set aside an empty palette for the next season and add colors to it, slowly, over time till it is ready? Like one day in early summer you say to yourself, “I’ll use this DS Piemontite for the Fall”, and so on? Have a great season to come! ….Bob

    Lisa Spangler · September 27, 2022 at 10:00 am

    Hi Bob — you’re really close! I knew I wanted to add Schmincke transparent orange to my palette for fall and it all went from there! I have some core colors that I keep on my palette at all times and then I swap in other colors based on what I’m going to be painting. I also added some darks (indigo and Van Dyck brown) and perylene red that I started playing with this summer that I also thought would be great for fall. Then it was a matter of deciding which colors to take off — that’s always the hardest part! The piemontite genuine was added at the end, actually. I had one spot left for a “wildcard” color and went with that one. I might swap it out again for winter, tho. It’s so much fun tinkering with color!

Dr. Jude A. Rathburn · December 11, 2022 at 10:57 pm

Hi Lisa. Would you be willing to share what colors are your “go to” ones that are always on your palette? I am just beginning to explore watercolor and it would be helpful to have a “go to” set of colors to start with. Thanks so much for all the tips and ideas you share.

    Lisa Spangler · December 12, 2022 at 10:26 am

    That’s a great question — thanks for asking! I’ll write up a post ASAP!

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