When I first started to paint in oils, many years age, I would place about twelve colours on the palette and very quickly into the painting process, the entire working area would be covered in a multitude of colour mixes. There was a tendency to use up all the paint simply because it was there. Most of the mixes were the result of almost random additions of bits and pieces of a variety of paints. Chaos on the palette would be a good way to describe the working method. My biggest problem was trying to remember which paints made which colour mixes, and sometimes I accidentally arrived at a nice mix. More often than not, I couldn’t reproduce this nice mix as I had forgotten the combinations of paints I had used. My solution was to use a reduced palette and in time I got to know a few colours very well.
The funny thing about this is that the resultant paintings were no less colourful with five colours than the paintings with twelve. Actually they were more vibrant and there was also a harmony of colour which was not there, when a large number of colours were used.
I’m not sure if this is an easier way for beginners to produce an acceptable painting. It may require a lot of practise to get it to work, and some types of subjects, like flower paintings, might necessitate a range of colours. After all, my subject range is narrow, and although I might think each of my paintings are different from the others, realistically they are quite similar. Anyway, have a look at the video below and see what you think.