There are so many gorgeous paint colors available. Why not just squeeze the beautiful colors out of a tube instead of mixing them?
Their paintings always have perfect color harmony and cohesiveness.
A limited palette simplifies things because you only have to keep a
small number of colors in stock.
It's very handy for paint
workshops or painting on location. You only have to pack a few tubes.
Painting with a limited palette is excellent
for budding artists. Instead of relying on store-bought colors, they learn how to mix colors.
In centuries past many artists were known for using a limited palette. It may have been out of necessity because they ground the pigments to make their own paints.
Old masters during the renaissance used a four color palette; yellow, red, blue and green.
Then in the 1800s synthetic colors came into use for the printing process; magenta, yellow and cyan blue.
painters use the same color theory based on the color wheel to select colors for their limited palettes.
Anders Zorn, an artist from the late 1800s is well known for painting with a limited palette; yellow ochre, vermilion, ivory
black and white.
black contains blue. So when it is mixed with yellow ochre it makes muted greens. Most of his paintings were indoor scenes, so he
had no need for landscape greens.
Many times Monet used a limited palette. He was noted for doing his paintings on location, outside. So he used a brighter green to enhance his paintings.
He said he used flake white, cadmium yellow, vermilion, deep madder, cobalt blue and emerald green for many of his landscape paintings.
You can add many additional colors by mixing. The colors will always harmonize and give you a cohesive color scheme because they based on just a few original colors.
A limited palette is made up of some version of the primary colors.
This palette with the addition of white will give you a wide range of mixed colors.
There is a simple solution, double your primary palette.
A double primary palette, also called a split-primary palette includes a warm and cool version of each of the primary colors.
This still is only six tubes of paint. Mixing the colors and the addition of white will give the artist all the colors they could ever want or need.
You can get nice violet colors by mixing Alizarin Crimson with either of the blue colors.
Thalo Blue mixed with either yellow gives you some nice bright greens.
Let's do a colorful, fun fish painting with a limited palette.
Paint them thinned with your solvent, so the colors will dry fast. Don't blend the colors.
This painting is done with alkyds paints. They dry fairly fast, so in about an hour we will soften and blend them. If they are blended now, it will make mud.
When you are painting with a limited palette, you don't have to be concerned about which colors to use. Any and all of the colors will harmonize and work well with each other.
Please note, cadmium colors are associated with a health hazard. I use Winsor Newton colors and their Winsor reds and yellows are made without the use of cadmium.
My favorite palette colors
Carry some of the red color out into the fins.
It is difficult to paint dark oil colors into white. So we paint the dark shadow color first before we add white.
Paint the dark eye, mixed with a combination of red and blue. More blue makes it darker. Paint a red ring around the eye. Add blue on the shadow side the eye ring.
Then we can pull the fin colors out over the background. The blending was done with about a 1/2" flat brush.
It you are painting with oils, just pull a soft, dry brush gently over the background colors to blend them.
Since this is a small canvas, I like to pick it up and turn it when I am painting. So I left one corner unpainted to keep my hands clean. It will be painted in later.
It is your option, you may want to add a bit of yellow or blue to the white.
Blend the white into the red of the fins.
Oops, I forgot to make the fins darker where they attach to body. So I added a bit of blue. (Next image) Either blue or alizarin crimson would be fine to darken the fins where they attach to the body.
Dab on colors that are thinned down with your mineral spirits. Then blow the thin colors with a soda straw to make them look like sea grasses.
Since we are painting with a limited palette, any of your colors will harmonize well with the painting.
Finish the background around the goldfish. Use any of the colors from your limited palette. They will all harmonize.