Posts Tagged ‘limited palette’

A New Painting using a Limited Palette

March 16, 2009


Solo 8X10 oil on linen panel

Limited palette consisting of : Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Lt., Phtalo Blue, Titanium White and Mars Black ( didn’t have Ivory Black but living on an island, you learn to substitute ). Minimizing colors is good practice to force yourself to see in a simple way, warm/cool, light/dark. I’m not fond of using black and perhaps Ivory would have been softer than Mars. This was a slight variation of the Zorn Palette which you can read more about on another blog I found here and see what Anders Zorn produced with a minimal use of color here at their website.

What was also limited was the amount of time I gave myself to finish this piece. I toned the canvas first in a drippy wash and went right to work with placing darks and mass- no drawing. Drawing with charcoal first is something I’m used to doing to get the figure in proportion. It also encourages the undesired characteristic of painting by ” filling in the lines ” rather than seeing shapes in relation to each other.

I’m taking another workshop next week, here on St. Croix, and wanted to loosen up before the class begins. I’m pleased with what looks like essence and gesture. Not including the wonky bend in the neck of the guitar. I promised myself that I wasn’t ” going in ” to re-do or do-over or fix it a little. This is it.

I also promised I would wash the cat by hand next time……


The Jazz Man- New Painting

September 22, 2008

Skin tones. Not skin colors. That’s what I was going for with this one.

The Jazz Man 8X10 oil on panel

Limited palette: ultramarine, alizarin, raw umber, titanium, black and letting the values of light and dark define the features.

I sketched first with vine charcoal on a tinted canvas.

I went at it with squinting eyes to let the contrasts be prominent and laid in the darks first. Then went back into it with lights and mid tones.

Squinting eliminates detail and lets the brush strokes loose.

I did some softening of the colors and features from this step to arrive at the finished one above. If kept at it, I’d have not known when to stop, short of trying for eyelashes. I wanted to capture some essence and not get hung up on details….

It’s been raining for days and after the dry dust bowl we’ve been through the entire summer, we’re now getting 10 inches of rain in 2 days.

In between curtains of falling water, I took clothes off the line and was met by this guy, who also espoused squinting ……

Our local tree frog. In a planter under the clothesline.

Shallow Water- New Painting

August 25, 2008

Shallow Water 8X10 oil on linen

By this time in August, the days are hot and the sun is relentless. The best way to cool off is to get in the water. I was watching this father and son at the shoreline, saw a good shot, and happened to also have the camera with me. Doesn’t always line up that way.

The dad was apparently comfortable in the water but the little guy, not so much. His face showed some displeasure. If he only knew how lucky he was to be living near a beach as pretty as this one.

I tried some new approaches on this painting and you can see the process below. Seeing works in progress when other artists show them has been so helpful. I thought I’d do the same.

First I toned the canvas with a raw sienna wash and while it was still wet, wiped away some areas for lights. Then I did a rough-in with a deeper sienna to position the dark shapes.

I usually sketched my subjects first but I wind up trying to “stay in the lines ” and I wanted to be looser with this and just get the feel for it. The toned canvas is great to give you a value base to relate to. Lights look more luminous and the darks are already pretty much in place.

Now I started to add in the colors, and again tried something new: a limited palette.

Yellow ochre

Alizarin Crimson

Ultramarine Blue

Titanium White

Burnt Sienna

Touch of Black but barely.

And one teeny dab of Cad. Red on swim trunks. I just had to.

It’s a serious exercise in being very precise in the use of color. And challenging.

Without Cad yellows, greens are much softer and cooler. What is it about green? Sheesh, I hate painting them.

So to complete the reverse order of images, this is the original reference.

It’s too hot…. I’m going for a swim. Unlike the little guy, I fully realize how lucky I am.