Show Me Your Palette

painting_paletteWe can learn a lot about an artist by looking at his or her working palette.

The daubs of paint, stubs of pastel, or puddles of color left behind on the palette are an intriguing trace of the working methods and psyche of the artist.

Some painters prefer to organize their palette from light to dark pigments, while others place their paints from cool to warm. Many methodically arrange their paints in the same working order each time they paint. But, of course there are those who lay out their colors in a haphazard manner. (If you are perplexed at how organize your paints on a palette, check out this helpful post, “Palette Tips: Organize Your Paints”  – or, watch the video at the end of this post.)

The persevered palettes of legendary artists help with valuable insight into the psychology and techniques of the old masters. Below you can see some famous artists’ palettes. Notice how different they look…

Renoir’s palette


Seurat’s palette

Delacroix's palette

Delacroix’s palette 

Degas palette

Degas’ palette

Moreau’s palette

Gaughin palette

Gaughin’s palette

After reading the interesting article, ‘Why Preserve Van Gogh’s Palette” , I was inspired to engage my Facebook readers into this topic. To do this I recently posted on my Fine Art Tips Facebook wall, “Show me YOUR Palette.”  It has been fun and interesting to see everyone’s different palettes and working habits. Here are a few samples of their palettes with a little explanation by each artist, enjoy.

*The featured palette in the post is by Jessica Pisano Fine Art (glass palette in need of cleaning…)


Suzanne Frazier  (This is the pallet I am using for a commission that I just finished yesterday. It’s a painting of sunlight and clouds. But here is the raw paint, ready to be applied to my concept.)


Tina Besecker Marohn (Part of my palette today while I work on two paintings.)


Ria Krishnan Fine Art ( I use a wooden palette that came with the french box easel. This is how I organize my paints each time I paint. I clean it after every painting session and save my left over paints on the left most corner. Left overs constitute valuable grays)


Cathleen Waldrop’s Art Studio (I use an old muffin tin to organize my pastel sticks that I am using. Many times I will group the colors based on where I am using them in the painting rather than by color family.)


Karen Hyams (glass palette made of large slab of bullet proof glass from an old bank.)

Diana O’Hara Van Baale (Here is what’s on my disposable palette! Wish it was more organized. It is what it is!)


Bill Werle


Ardith Goodwin (Here is my working palette for my watercolors. Lots and lots of options!)


Judy Hemmerling-Schafers (You asked for it! Judy Leila Schafers palette….just before a cleaning.)


Steve Weed


Molten Creativity (This is a close up of my electric griddle. I love drawing in the medium with a silicone tool as it cooling.)


Feel free to join in the fun at Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page, I also hope we can meet on Pinterest,  Twitter, and on Google Plus! ~Lori :)

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2016-04-01T00:21:17+00:00 February 16th, 2012|Fine Art Tips, General, Guest Articles, How To Paint, Draw & More|15 Comments


  1. Janet Vanderhoof February 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I think I want to introduce Naples. Additionally, I love using Indian Yellow, Phthalo Turquoise, Permanent Rose and Magenta. Aren’t Viva towels wonderful. I am going to use your alcohol idea as well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lori McNee February 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Janet,

      It is fun seeing you here again. Yes, Naples really is a nice color especially for studio works. I use it a lot in my still life paintings. The alcohol trick is great!

      Lori 🙂

  2. Phil Kendall February 17, 2012 at 8:18 am

    My most colourful item is my water jar…dabs of spare acrylics all over it!

    • Lori McNee February 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      I bet it looks cool! Thanks Phil.

  3. Jean Reece Wilkey February 17, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Thanks for the wonderful views of artist’s palettes, Lori. I find it fascinating. For specific colors artist use, Aron B Miller has a great blog dedicated to oil painters palettes at

    • Lori McNee February 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Hello Jean,

      You are welcome. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. This was a fun post to write. Thank you for sharing the link.


  4. Carol McIntyre February 17, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Palettes are like our hand writing! Thanks for collecting these examples. It is really interesting and fun to look at.

  5. Linda Rosso February 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe I missed this post until now. I just posted my photo of Claude Monet’s palette on my website today! Have a look – it is just breathtaking.

    • Lori McNee February 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Hello Linda, thanks for sharing your link…I will check it out. This post was interesting to write, and I also enjoyed seeing everyone’s palettes, they really are beautiful. 🙂

  6. Ariel February 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Hello Lori, your site is really amazing! I’am reading a book about social web that point your site!
    Gretings from Germany.

    • Lori McNee February 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Thank you for letting me know Ariel! What book? I’d love to know the name of it. I hope to visit Germany someday…

      Lori 🙂

  7. C Kaufman June 7, 2012 at 5:12 am

    For a while I collected and took photos of my “finished” art palettes. See some here:

    • Lori McNee June 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Charles! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing your palettes with us here.

      Happy painting,

  8. Steve Weed February 12, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Lori. That is not my palette!

    • Lori A McNee April 1, 2016 at 12:22 am

      Hi Steve, which one? I looked and wasn’t sure…

Comments are closed.