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Old 04-25-2004, 08:56 AM   #1
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Limited Palette




Loving colors, as I do, is one thing, but choosing what you need is another.

The color industry is of course pushing the needs of various
tubes of colors you can not live without.

But basically there is only three colors you can not live without, yellow, red and blue. Fore painting you will need White and maybe black too.

My point is that to many color tubes will tempt the painter to choose the specific color as they are right from the tube, with a very limited tonal range as the result.

To compare with another instrument, there is the piano. I am not sure how many keys there are, because I don
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Old 04-25-2004, 09:42 AM   #2
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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I think you could pretty much paint any portrait from those colors. Other pigments might be needed for some types of clothing and backgrounds, but a whole painting with neutral-colored clothing and background could easily be created with your limited palette.

The colors you mention are very similar to an old master's palette. It is said that Rubens used only white plus Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre and Ivory black.

For painters just starting out with color a limited palette such as the one you describe is often highly recommended -- and can also be a good discipline for many more advanced painters too.
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Old 04-25-2004, 02:13 PM   #3
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Hi Michele,

I am sure that you mean well, but about Rubens using only the colors you named, I am afraid it is not enough. I have reproductions of his pictures that shows that he used both Vermilion and a strong blue in addition to those you mentioned.

It is not easy to paint. Not even if the colors are limited.

I am not seeking the easy way out, nor am I trying to complicate things. But I know that many artist ( new and experienced ) is misled by the fancy names of colors, covering that many "different" colors are in fact made from the same pigments.

A concrete example : Raw Sienna is the same as Golden Ocher.
Mars Brown, Oxide Red, Indian Red, Venetian Red is also basically the same pigment, made from the same source, which is earth (clay) polluted more or less by iron oxide and other metals.
To achieve an all-round overview of available colors it is essential to understand there origiens.

Allan
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:26 AM   #4
Albert Loewy
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Alizarin Crimson, while necessary for a deep red, (rose) is, to my understanding, somewhat fugitive. It may be replaced, with no loss at all, by the more stable, Rose Madder. Why is Gold Ochre Transparent, Venetian & Indian Reds necessary too?
I also like Dioxazine Violet, Cobalt Blue, Manganese Blue, Cerulean, Sap Green, Cadmium Greens- Deep&Pale, Cad. Y.'s-D.&P.. Cad. Or. and Quinacridone Rose Deep too.
Granted, I have a huge palette. Just my taste.
Later,
a.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:05 AM   #5
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Quote:
Why is Gold Ochre Transparent, Venetian & Indian Reds necessary too?
I suppose very few colors are truly "necessary" and what those few colors are would be open to considerable debate. However there is the perennial question of "What is better, a limited palette or a more expanded one?"

Many artists feel that a limited palette is easier to learn on. You can get to know all the characteristics of those few colors more quickly, and you're forced to concentrate more on value, which after all, is where the power of just about every painting comes from.

But here's a reason in favor of a more expanded palette, given to me by my former teacher Tony Ryder (whose palette had 42 colors on it!) He made the analogy of preparing food and needing some mustard for whatever you're making. You can go and get all the separate ingredients in mustard and mix them all together in the right proportions to get what you want.... or you can just go out and buy a bottle of mustard. There's a clear time savings involved.

All in all, it comes down to personal choice. I have about 14 colors on my palette, with a few additions now and then for certain specific subjects.
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:30 PM   #6
Mischa Milosevic Mischa Milosevic is offline
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My Palette,
YO pale W&N,
Cad Red light OH,
Persian OH,
Red Umber OH,
Burnt Umber OH,
Raw Umber W&N,
Green Umber OH, Ivory Black
Titanium White Rembrandt 118

I also use

Cad Yellow light OH
Cad Yellow medium OH
Naples Yellow extra OH
Sapgreen OH
Alizarine OH
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:27 AM   #7
Richard Budig Richard Budig is offline
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If you want to see beautiful work done from a limited palette, look at the paintings of Anders Zorn. His basic flesh palette was cad red light, yellow ocher, black and white. I'm sure he used other colors, too, but the range of color/values he was able to express with these four tubes of paint is amazing . . . to me, at least.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:39 AM   #8
Paul Foxton Paul Foxton is offline
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I'm a bit late to this discussion, sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele Rushworth
Many artists feel that a limited palette is easier to learn on.
I'm in exactly this position, just learning and using a very limited pallete because of that:

Flake or Titanium white
Alizarin Crimson
Cadmium yellow light
Ultramarine
Windsor green

I used to use black too, but substituted it for windsor green since when mixed with alizarin it makes a beautiful, shimmering near-black which has much more life to it. This idea I got from a book by Kevin MacPherson. When I was at art college many years ago they banned us from using black. I used to use a mixture of ultramarine and burnt umber back then as a substitute for black.

I find I can mix pretty much everything I want just with those five colours. You can get very close to a tube ochre, or sienna. It's true that it takes longer when you have to mix every colour, but I think that can be a good thing. It makes you look at the colour you're trying to match much more closely.

I made a handy little device, a piece of card painted flat grey with a few holes holes punched in it to look through and isolate colours with. It never ceases to amaze me how different colours really are compared to what I think they are at first glance.

I do think that the extra effort and constant comparing required to mix every colour trains my eye to see colour better. I also think that a limited pallete can give more unity to the painting. I sometimes see paintings where all the colours harmonise well except for one or two which look like they came straight from the tube and were used largely because the painter likes the colour, which is fine I guess, but they can stand out somewhat and disturb the harmony when used this way.
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Old 03-15-2006, 10:37 AM   #9
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Quote:
Flake or Titanium white
Alizarin Crimson
Cadmium yellow light
Ultramarine
Windsor green
This sounds like a perfect palette for plein air painting too. (Also, for those not familiar with Winsor Newton colors, Winsor green is also called Pthalo green.)
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:58 PM   #10
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Limited palettes, love 'em!

Thanks to Marvin Mattleson, I have managed to whittle down my palette to:

All Micheal Harding except for the Alizarin which is Blockx in the order as they are on my palette,

Flake white #2
Naples yellow light genuine
Yellow ochre
Vermilion genuine
Alizarin
Venetian red
Burnt umber
Raw umber
Black
Viridian
Ultramarine

And occasionally cobalt violet.

I only mix a range of greys. It is really simple and I am amazed at the range of colors that I can get from those particular paints.

I used to use the Daniel Greene palette, but I found the skin-tones were much to orange and rather dull. It also took a lot of time.

This is quick and easy.
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