Limited Palette

Posted on

Limited Palette

What a revelation!

I confess to have never been attracted by using a limited palette in a painting. When there are so many wonderful colours on offer, I couldn't see the point of restricting yourself to one, two or just three. However, having now done a 'greens only' challenge and more recently a 'blues only' challenge I have had a revelation - using a limited palette is easier (or at least I have found it so). It removes all those difficult decisions about combining colours, finding complementary colours, colour triads, etc - all things that have me scratching my head. Using the blue on my latest one of the pierrot was much less cerebrally challenging than trying to paint the portrait using all my normal colours. No choices - just put your brush in some blue paint - job done. It has certainly got me thinking now - perhaps I might try to use fewer colours in my paintings, both in an effort to produce more cohesive work and also to retain some of my sanity as colour combining and deciding on a complicated palette has routinely seen me tearing my hair out. Ain't learning a wonderful thing!

Thank you, John, that a very kind comment about the green painting. I am getting into this limited palette lark and my next challenge just has to be red, doesn't it. I've done green, blue and yellow and although I know green isn't a primary, with the addition of red, the four colours often form the basis for a palette. No idea how to do one in red but will have a good think about it.

I certainly think your super painting deserved HC, Thea. I too enjoy a limited palette. I have a couple on my page - 'Pendle Hill' (Ultra Marine & Cad Red) and 'Out of the Woods' (Prussian Blue & Lemon Yellow). At one class I attended the tutor asked us to do a lucky dip without peeping, selecting 3 tubes of paint at random (I think you were allowed white also) and paint a still life. The results in the class were surprising and generally pleasing. It certainly takes you away from your comfort zone!

Dennis, I had never thought of it before, but they say simplification is the way forward but I hadn't realised you could apply that to the colour palette you were using! Thank you for your kind comment on my 'green' painting. Funnily enough, it was done only as a fun challenge and I rather cheekily decided to put it into Patchings competition this year and blow me down if it didn't get an HC! Could have knocked me down with a feather, lol! Mind you, the next challenge might be trying to decide which two or three colours to use in a limited palette. Anyone got any advice or tips about that?

Hi Thea I agree with you using a limited pallet takes a lot of the problems of colour harmony away . It means you never getting any problems with colour harmony that's why black and white photos are so good . I like this painting its fresh and easy on the eye .

Latest News
Latest Blog Entries
Latest Reviews