I'm often asked what are the brand of paints I use to create my works. It's an excellent question and over the years I've experimented quite a bit with a variety of brands and their different grades. There is quite a bit of difference between the manufactures of course and the quality of their recipes. The old adage "you pay for what you get" is indeed true in this case. But I would not discount lower level grades such as Michaels "Artist Loft", Liquitex "Basics" or Cheap Joe's "Prime".
They all have their unique qualities and it really is up to your personality as far as to the brilliance and body in which you would like to handle these paints. In a number of cases I like lower grade paints because there is a fluidity to them that compliments my years as a watercolorist. Heavy body paints are nice too for my highlights and really when I'm looking for the paint to sit up on the canvas but my personality is to work the paint into a nice primed gesso canvas. I like the way the paint soaks into the canvas so to speak. Ready made primed canvas give you a very slick surface which can lend itself to some marvelous techniques too.
Are there particular colors I make up for my palette? There are go to colors but honestly I love variety, if it looks good on the shelf, hey why not give it a try!
Bottom line; you have to paint and experiment, find your best compliment with a variety of brands. They all work nicely together so no fear that you have to paint exclusively with just one brand. Make it a salad with thousand island dressing, through in the kitchen sink! I enjoy adding modeling paste to my canvas to add character or two or three layers of gesso.
The best tip I've come across is getting a good medium to mix your acrylics with. My recommendation is Liquitex "Palette Wetting Spray" It works wonders and is my go to when I'm doing traditional to transitional work. Only downside, the spray nozzle clogs very easily. Answer: I simply transfer it to another spray bottle.
Here is a link to my favorites places to shop for supplies. Sign up for their email list, they have great sales during the year, that's my favorite time to shop. Be proactive!