Sunday, 17 February 2008

Palette limitations

Yesterday's palette.
My favourites?
The middle section: the greys and dark reds

Trying to systematise my oil painting technique, I limited my palette to the following:

- cobalt blue
- lemon yellow
- raw siena
- venetian red

plus titanium white, lots of titanium white.

Of these colours, it's only been the lemon yellow which I had already learned to use and value (though largely as underpainting ground for some pastel paintings - notably, this abstract one here).

In fact, of the earth colours, both raw siena and venetian red (or any red iron oxide) would be ones where I could theoretically appreciated their value and importance for paintings but would invariably opt for umber and yellow ochre instead... feeling somewhat smug that I managed to deal with the opacity of the latter in oil while I detested it in acrylics.

Similarly the titanium white got banned from my palette in favour of naples yellow light to try and avoid chalkiness. But over the paste two weeks I've managed to demolish my white tube in no time and urgently need to buy some new one.

The plan with these colours is to get to some winter colours with low sun, bare grounds, some woods in the distance and alternatively clear blue or overcast skies. Of all the colours, I am quickly becoming excited about the possibilities that both the siena and the red iron oxide offers: the most luminous, earthy variations on browns, greys and greens. In particular when mixed with the cobalt it just makes the palette sing.

With these colours I've started four paintings based on the German winter sketches - they are in their early stages yet, and I'm smiling to myself as they are currently strongly in the spring or autumnal mood rather than winter... but hey, patience will get you there, Gesa.


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