I am a penniless widow with only one arm, living in a squalid fifth floor walkup next to the container docks in East Boston. I want to paint the beauty I see all around me every day. Could you recommend a palette I could use that would be mostly series one colors and as high a quality as I can get while spending as little money as possible?
Signed ; One Ulna
Since you have but the one arm I can't recommend that you buy your paint in cans from RGH and tube it yourself, which would give you the best quality at the lowest price. So I would recommend you use Jerrys artarama, or Dick Blick or one of the other mail order firms to buy your paint in the most economical way.
There are a number of reasonably priced lines of professional paint and I would shop among them for the best price. Often Lefranc is a good choice, those 250 ml. tubes are a great deal. But Rembrandt or Gamblin or Utrechs or several others may offer a paint that you like at a price you can afford.
I know you asked for me to recommend only the series one colors, but I will have to choose one that is not. You simply have to have a real cadmium yellow, and not a series one hue. Nothing else is an effective substitute for that. I would spend the money and get that big tube of Lefranc, it will last a long time and the quality is good. Most the other colors can be sort one. You will need yellow ochre, thalo blue ( a tube of this will last a long time so if it isn't series one it will still be economical, and a proprietary red. Rembrandt makes a nice one, most of the makers market a permanent red. You will need burnt sienna and although I usually recommend permanent alizirin you will perhaps want to buy the Alizirin from one of the student grades or maybe a permanent rose. Winton in the 200m ml. tube will do for this. Ultramarine is usually a series two, so buy the Winton version of that in the big tube also. For your white I recommend either the Lefranc, it is about 14.00 for 250m m ls. that pretty cheap and it is excellent. The other possibility is Permalba. The warehouse mail order guys often have 3 packs that are very inexpensive. Permalba is a high quality but unusual white. But we are out to work as cheaply as possible so some compromises have to be made.
I recommend that you work small, as the amount of paint you will use is much less and it is usually easier to sell small low priced paintings. You won't be stretching your own canvas will you? So I recommend painting on Ampersand or other similar pre primed panels. Order Damar and stand oil from Utrecht, they have great prices on those by the quart and you can then make your own medium very afford ably. You WILL have to make that with real turpentine though. After that use odorless mineral spirits from the hardware store for thinner.
That ought to save a few bucks, if put your mind to it you can paint very cheaply indeed and I have had periods in my life where I have had to do that.