My Limited Palette

In response to Roberts comment in the previous post.

Here is a list of colors, by season, that you have painted. I mentioned this topic in a YT comment. Do you agree that these colors work for you by season are do you keep a different list? I am getting back into painting with oils again and am deciding what colors to use.

Fall:
Late Harvest: Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue
Golden Pond: Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue
Shortcut: Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue

Winter:
Winter Blue: Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue
Winter Marsh: Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue
Winter Woodland: Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue (4 colors)

Spring:
Sprint Light: Winsor Lemon, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue
Spring Sunshine: Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue
Spring Grazing: Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue

Summer:
Summer in April: Cadmium Yellow, Indian Red, Cobalt Blue
Early Summer: Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue
Summer Afternoon: Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue

IMG_0725The above is one of a series of experiments I conducted to see the effects produced by different primary colours with regard to an overall colour flavour. Three primaries (red, yellow, blue) were placed in a circle and spread and mixed. After many such tests the differences were not telling me much. The secondary and tertiary colours are where the differences are most significant especially when mixed with white. Even with as few as three colours the variations are enormous.

One of the advantages of a limited palette is it allows me to remember the colours produced by a particular set of primaries. Another significant factor is how pigments interact. For example, two similar blues each mixed with a yellow will produce very different greens. Also you get results which are not expected such as mixing a yellow, such as Yellow Ochre, with Ivory Black will produce a series of subtle greens. In this case black is behaving like a blue but not all blacks produce this effect. In Photoshop (a digital image computer programme) adding black to a colour similar to Yellow Ochre will produce a darkened version of this yellow – not a green colour. Remember you are mixing ground earth (Yellow Ochre) with ground charred bones (Ivory Black) when dealing with paint.

Occasionally I will add another colour to the basic three primaries. This is when a particular secondary, such as a green, is not produced by the primary yellow and blue. A similar case can be seen in the painting below. Here the primaries Indian Yellow, Burnt Sienna (red) and Cobalt Blue are used. The muted greens are an essential part of this scene but I also wanted a particular shade of purple which Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue would not produce. I remember this from previous paintings. So Dioxazine Purple was added as a fourth colour. Here is the painting:

In the painting below the colours are: Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue. Vibrant greens and purples – no need for an additional secondary – green or purple.

So to answer Robert, I don’t have a particular set of colours based on seasonal colours. The selected colours are based on what I am trying to achieve in a particular painting. I am aware of paintings which are very different and from different seasons, painted with the same colours. I cannot recollect them at the moment but they are there somewhere (try searching my  YouTube Channel if you are interested).

Any further questions I will be happy to answer.

To view the above videos in realtime change speed setting in YouTube to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.

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Summer Storms

Summer Storms

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

To view in realtime change setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.

Summer Afternoon

Summer Afternoon

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

The size is 16.5″ x 12″.

To view in realtime change setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.

Corn Thieves

Corn Thieves

This painting has kept me occupied over the last few days. It was painted in the traditional way, i.e. layers allowed to dry before the next are applied. I usually paint in a single session in 1 to 2 hours and the painting is small (12″ x 16″ approx). This large size (30″ x 24″) needed several hours, so it was completed in 3 sessions of about 3 hours each. The under layers are painted with Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colours. The final layers were applied with traditional oils and Liquin medium. The colours used were Cadmium Yellow, Indian Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson plus black and white.

Sorry I could not video the process due to time and size restrictions. The method is basically the same as my usual. Loads of transparent under colour applied unmixed with loads of solvent. The entire canvas was covered with colour and while still wet the first stage of the sky and distance were painted. The following day this had dried (because of the Alkyd Colour + Solvent) and the sky and distance were painted to completion. The foreground initially was painted very dark greens and browns over the dry under colours of crimson and ultramarine blue.

I used Liquin to speed up the drying process and to add a bit of substance and flexibility to my paint layer. This is important as this is a stretched canvas which is a very flexible substrate. I normally use ‘solvent only’ on loose canvas which I later laminate onto a rigid board. This is a very stable surface with very little flexing, quite different from the stretched canvas.

See you soon.

Summer Woodland

Summer Woodland

This painting is16.5″ x 10″. Only 3 colours are used (Cadmium Yellow, Bright Red, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

This is a video of the painting process. To view in realtime change setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.

Early Summer

Early Summer

The soft clouds of summer.

It is difficult to paint the softness of clouds directly as you would paint solid objects. I place the colours on the canvas first and use a clean wide filbert brush to blend by cross-hatching. I do not use a medium, just a small amount of solvent to spread the colour. I use a pipette to add the solvent, a drop at a time as I mix the colours, so I don’t add too much. This helps the blending process as the small amount of solvent evaporates leaving a ‘dryish’ layer of paint. I avoid medium because the colours would spread into each other producing a single featureless colour. The process does take a bit of practice but the final effect makes it worth it.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. The black and white are Alkyd Fast Drying Paints. The colours are Artist Quality Traditional Oil Colours. It is recommended to use Alkyd colours under traditional oils as they dry faster. They can be mixed together if the mixing is thorough and the paint applied in a single thin layer. Avoid having distinct layers of different paint types. If the drying rates in the upper layers are faster (as with Alkyd) than the lower layers, paint might be prone to flaking off. Thick paint, varnishing, removing varnish, cleaning etc exacerbates the problem.

There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″. This was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session in about 2 hours.

Here is the process. To view in realtime change setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.

 

Bluebell Hill

Bluebell Hill

Yellow flowers have given way to the purple and blue.

There are 3 colours used in this painting Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose & Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

To view in realtime change setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.