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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Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Artist Ambassador to Arches/Canson/Royal Talens. As the owner of, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses. Lori is also a member of the CBS Entertainment Tonight & The Insider Tweet Team.

15 thoughts on “Show Me Your Palette

  1. Janet Vanderhoof says:

    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 says:

      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 🙂

    • Lori McNee says:

      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. 🙂

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