Paint Swatches

After my art adventure with Jane Saturday I really wanted to narrow my palette down to the 8 colors I thought would work best for me. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do when I run out of the paints that are in the small 22ml tube sizes. I may be forced to remove the water bottle from the pochade and just use my drinking water bottle for rinse water. If I do that I’ll switch to my 40 ounce KleenKanteen instead of the 1 pint bottle I’m using currently.

I headed to the basement and painted swatches of how colors mixed with one another. A scientific approach to picking the right colors for me. I used cheap mead 3×5 inch index cards. I painted on the blank side and wrote the name of each color represented. Here are some pictures. Please be aware I did not focus on making these neat, merely on mixing 2 colors; sometimes 3 colors.


These are held together by a 7 Gypsies cable ring that Dede kindly sent me. These things are super cool and very useful. I may have to buy a whole package of them. Or figure out how to make them…

A professor at my college, that my fellow students and I nicknamed “Anal Ron*,” gave this as an assignment. He wanted us to scientifically map out which colors of gouache we were mixing and in what proportions. At 18 it was an assignment I hated. I really wanted to slop paint on a canvas, I certainly didn’t want to spend $55 on an 8 tube set of W&N Designer’s Gouache and then scientifically mix each color to produce shades. We were to do a certain number of paint chips per week and bring them into class. I roughly hacked up some cheap sketch paper and mixed my required paint chips, left them to dry around my dorm room while I drank “soda” with friends.

The next day for class I shoved all of the paint chips into a crumpled brown paper bag I had lying about from god knows what. Anal Ron had us place our paint chips on our desks while he wandered around the room and looked at them. Students who had neat tidy cards with notes got words of praise, the person I was dating at the time didn't even bother to show up for class. When he got to mine he crumpled his nose, and said, “These are your paint chips?” To which I replied, “Yep.” The vein in the middle of his forehead popped out and his face turned red and he carefully enunciated every word that followed, “You are to make cards that you will look to years from now as inspiration and as a reference. When you mix the paint you mix it to a consistency of heavy cream! Look at this shade of MUD you have mixed! It was clearly mixed to the consistency of yogurt!” At this point I was feeling pretty humiliated but tried to brush it off as the rest of the students looked around awkwardly and embarrassed for me. I tuned out the rest of his lecture but I’m sure it continued on in the same vein.

While I'd have scored higher on this project than I did back then, Anal Ron would certainly have deducted points from my grade for not masking out the cards to make neat tidy rectangles for mixing.

*So given the nickname due to his neurotic tendencies and ability to notice if a curve was off by a hair of a degree and his ability to humiliate a student for not being quite as exacting as he. It delighted me to later find out that one of my favorite professors also found Anal Ron to be a complete and utter boorish tool, to the point he didn’t mind saying so.