Colors on Brushes

Paint what you love - I love my paint!
So - - - Color...  Something I research a Lot!  -from Joseph Albers to James Gurney to scientific articles about light to clipping a cool magazine picture with a great color palette.  Happily the subject is endless.

These are the colors I use on a daily basis:
  • Permanent Rose (Winsor and Newton)
  • Ultramarine Blue(Winsor and Newton, Old Holland or Vasari)
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon (Vasari) Or Cadmium Yellow Pale (Winsor & Newton)
  • Titanium White (Old Holland)
I use One of each of primaries above depending on the light.  I occasionally add a Cobalt Teal (Old Holland or Sennelier) and Burnt Sienna (W & N) or Brown Pink (Gamblin)  Generally - that's it -

There are a lot of tubes in that box above, but only 3-5  (rarely 7 colors if there's a very good reason), are ever used at one time in one painting. 

Premix your Secondary and Tertiary Colors from your Limited Palette before Painting on Location!

Using a limited palette - "the power of limits" - gives you room to think.  It's surprisingly liberating while painting because your thinking becomes circular.  Warmer/cooler - darker/lighter.  You only have a couple of choices for the shifts and I guarantee you'll be delightedly amazed at what happens.  The longer you use a limited palette, the more incredible and "deeper" it becomes.   

Playing with a variety of Limited palettes can be fantastic depending on conditions.  A couple of ideas for choosing a different palette from the myriad available tube colors out there:
  • Just look at the light you're under and pick 3 primaries you Love
  • Write down all of the tube color names you have on small pieces of paper, divide them according to the 3 primaries and put them in 3 labeled baggies.  Then just reach into each baggie, pull one out - see what you can make happen
  • Use the Yurmby Color Wheel that James Gurney so beautifully describes in his book "Color and Light" - a Great book and Gurney Journey is a fantastic blog - go subscribe right now -
  • Go get one you love from another artist - there are only a trazillion paintings on line.... tons to love -
  • Modified Limited Palette - This is super useful... choose a limited palette for a specific subject.  However, for one of your primaries, use several tube colors.  For example, for a couple of red cups that are different red hues,  use one yellow, one blue and then 2 - 4 red tube colors, plus white. 
How To Make Blue:   Phthalo Green + Quinacridone Magenta.  This is an incredibly versatile combination.  I mix them about equal and do value studies with the mixture and white.  Shift it a bit to the green or magenta for a little variety in your values.  It's great for under painting and shifted toward the green it works well for little oil sketch studies of waves.  That is the only blue used in "Haiku Bananas"  Why make blue? - because we can of course  :0)
Make up your own methods and share in a comment - Can't wait to hear from you!!   Happy Painting!