Monday, August 01, 2016

The Advantages Of A Limited Palette



This piece sold this weekend at my show in Onancock, at the Red Queen Gallery. If I receive requests I may add it to my print shop. I can always be reached at

When I began my art journey, I focused on creating paintings using soft pastels. I fell in love with the immediacy of the process, the pure pigment and the way the light danced across the beautiful colors.
My palette consisted of two huge boxes of colors, both two feet by three feet! I had collected these over a couple of years ranging from hard brands to super soft which were great for adding final details. When I decided to venture into oils, the frustration level was pretty high! I had to MIX colors and learn to control a liquid medium that often turned to mud instead of the gorgeous pure color I was used to using. I wish someone had gotten a hold of me then and suggested I try a limited palette until I got the hang of things but....I may not have listened. I was already grieving the ability to grab any color or texture my heard desired and immediately put down the color I needed.  I painted for years with a pretty large palette of color but in the last year, I decided to adopt the palette of a local master painter named Charles Kello and it has been a great experience. Here are the five colors I put out on my palette every day.

Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue
Alizarin Crimson
Ultramarine Blue

Soft Mixing White  Or Titanium

These are the colors he had his students use to create any color they needed.  Now, I have to admit that I have a few additional colors that I find I enjoy for pops of color. Those are:

Naples Reddish Yellow
Charvin St. Remy Blue
Lukas Beige
Cadmium Orange  (This is a much more pure orange than the one you can make using Alizarin and
Cadmium Yellow Pale).

If you like Cerulean blue, you can create it using Viridian, Ultramarine and white.

Give the limited palette a try minus my additional colors and see if you don't get better at mixing
in pretty quick order. Being able to mix your colors is such a huge part of painting and getting
down to the business of painting more quickly and with less frustration!

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