How to set out your paints for success

I know that for many people learning to paint, colour mixing can prove frustrating.

Which is why setting your paints out in a specific type of colour wheel arrangement can be really helpful to the process.

For example: let’s say you were trying to match to a specific blue.

You would choose the blue from your palette you thought was nearest to the colour you’re looking at.

But most times, when you then look at that one colour in your palette, you’ll be aware that it’s not a perfect match. It needs another colour mixed with it.

And that’s where you might then struggle to know what to add.

Sound familiar?

But if your colours are set out in a colour wheel, it’s my experience that most students can then decide which direction on that wheel their colour needs to shift in.  So for a blue that would be either towards green or towards purple.

And with their paints laid out in order, they can easily choose a colour to try from the right part of the wheel.

So in case you’ve missed this video before, I wanted to share with you the way I set out my paints, and urge you to have a go at doing the same with yours if you haven’t already:

**** You can download the PDF of my paints and other equipment via this page****


If you have a session setting out your paints like this don’t forget to photograph your newly ordered palette and tag it #AnnaMasonArt via social media so I can see it.

Happy painting,


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  1. Jasmina on October 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I have a question about the brand of my watercolors. I have a set of St. Petersburg white nights. Although i like them for my general painting, i am afraid to start painting your tutorials. Are they good enough to work with in your opinion?

  2. Louisa on October 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Anna, thanks for this. Where can I download this? I did not understand what you said as I am a bit technologically challenged. Thanks, Louisa

  3. Sharon Kanko on October 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Anna, where is the link for the PDF showing the color arrangement on the square plate in the above video

  4. Roopa Speedy on October 13, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks Anna for the interesting interpretation of the colour wheel…. never would have bothered to read about Munsell.
    I like the simplicity and clarity in all your explanations. Thanks again 🙂
    Roopa Speedy

  5. Karen Forshner on October 13, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for the information. Colours are so important and there is so much to learn, it is very helpful to have these snippets of info.

  6. Alexia on October 13, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    This is incredibly helpful, thanks Anna! I’ve been getting my green-yellow and orange-yellow a bit muddled, so this should help sort that out. Beautifully shot video as well. Thanks!

  7. SandraG. on October 13, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Anna: thanks soo much for your (as usual) very informative videos : ) as it happens, I am currently “on a mission” to learn and/or improve my color mixing and need, I really mean “need” help with the color wheel – and here you are – YAY !!! like the above comments, cannot find the color wheel to download you mention in this video ??? looks like we are all looking for it – ha : ) BTW – I enjoyed your basic watercolor class very much and I’m still practicing the shading part of the flower/rose – but love it !!!!!
    Thank you in advance for your help : )
    Blessings, Sandra in AZ : )

  8. Maria Buscani on October 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Anna,Thank you so much for all the tips but I was unable to locate the PDF file you mention in the video.

  9. Pennie Glasser on October 14, 2016 at 5:10 am

    The videos are fantastic! Can you tell me if I am already signed up for your free class? I am awaiting product/tools

  10. Jodi Ferguson on April 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Love it! Makes sense to me….better than other color wheels I’ve seen…..even if I haven’t used them. I appreciate the tip about the 2 yellows. Again makes sense, and it helps keep the colors clean with no “oh my, I just ruined it! Its not suppose to be orange!”
    Thanks for sharing this color wheel.
    As for getting to your color wheel chart, one just needs to scroll under the video here, and when new page comes up go to and click on the equipment list pdf. Scroll to bottom and you will see it said color wheel on the last page. Have fun playing with it.

  11. Brenda Logan on May 23, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Anna – Is there any chance where you will have your own pretty box of the watercolors you recommend for purchase in the near future? ‍

    • Carrie (Team Anna Mason Art) on May 29, 2019 at 8:39 am

      Hi Brenda, when it comes to paints, it’s probably best left up to the professionals as pigment and the manufacture of paint is a very specialised thing. I can’t say that Anna will not ever have her own paints, but it’s certainly not something she’s considering right now with a new baby etc…the Winsor & Newton Professional paints that Anna recommends are high quality and the best she’s found. 🙂

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