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)
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.