|Some of My Reds|
My “system” for acrylic paint colors could also work for just about any other medium-- watercolor, oil, pastel, etc.When the number of tubes outgrew one drawer, I decided to start using bins. I shopped around and found a nice inexpensive solution of stackable, rolling drawers, and they work perfectly.
It’s so simple, you’ll probably say “duh” when you read this. First I segregate the colors by primary colors-- blues, reds, yellows--and I include all the hues and shades and even some secondary colors in these categories.Reds--In addition to Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red Light, Red Oxide, etc., the Reds also include Violet, Dioxazine Purple, and even Burnt Sienna (which is actually red-ish).
Yellows--Along with all the variations of yellow from Lemon to Naples, I include a couple of Oranges. I also keep Raw Sienna with the Yellows because that’s what it mostly is—a shade of yellow.Blues--The blues include every shade and hue of blue I own from Indigo to Ultramarine to Cobalt to Pthalo to Cerulean.
If you’re wondering what happened to the Greens, I’ll tell you. I had so many different Greens that I gave them a category (and bin) all to themselves. The Greens include everything from Hookers to Chromium Oxide and from Green Black to Brilliant Yellow Green , Viridian, and Olive. I also decided to include all the blue-greens—turquoise(s)-- in with the Greens because they look more green than blue to me.
So what’s left? Well, a lot of colors that just don’t fit into the above categories so I decided to call them Neutrals. I don’t have near as many of these as I do blues, for example. In addition to Oxide Black, this is also where I decided to put the Browns, such as Raw and Burnt Umber. This area includes Payne’s Gray, Davy’s Gray, Parchment, Warm Grey, and Unbleached Titanium to name a few.
I then made an executive decision. I have a lot of colors that are tints of the colors mentioned above. I put them altogether in a group called Pastels. (If you don’t know what a tint is, look it up.) Pastels include such colors as Pink, Venetian Rose, Pale Terracotta, Ocean Green, Light Blue Violet, Moss Green, Aluminum, Dunes Beige, and Cast Shadow.
I realize the names of some of the colors mentioned above are merely the whim of some manufacturer’s marketing department in many cases, rather than the actual, agreed-upon name and chemical makeup of the official Color Index . This has nothing to do with how I decided to organize my paint colors.
One last thing, since I use (and have) a whole lot of White acrylic paint, it gets its very own bin, which is full.
You, of course, can organize things anyway you please, but I hope this is helpful to painters in need of a little order in their studios if not in their lives.