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mes2370



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PostSubject: Limited Palette   Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:44 pm

Hi Everyone,

I was looking at some other threads on this forum "What Water Soluble Oils are on your Palette?" and the "What colors do you use to create black without using black?" and found them very helpful.

Since I'm just starting out using oils (I've only done 3 paintings using the Bob Ross wet-on-wet method with traditional oils) and wanting to try other styles w/ water soluble oils I was wondering what you thought were the essential colors for a limited palette? On the "What Water Soluble Oils are on your Palette?" thread it seems some go from as few as 6 or 8 colors to 13 or more. I would like to start out small (tight budget) but with a good foundation of a few colors that can be added to when possible.

Currently I only have W&N Artisan Ivory Black and Zinc White with w/s Linseed Oil since I didn't want to spend alot until I gave it a try. I figured trying out a B&W landscape on a small canvas might give me a feel for how the paint handles before I buy more. I just haven't had time yet to give them a try. Maybe sometime this week, I hope.

Thanks for any advice,

Mark

Edit: On a side note when I was looking at some paints online I was confused why some colors are called, for example, Cad Red and others are Cad Red Hue?
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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:56 pm

Hi Mark!

Cad red would be pure cadmium red, the hue is a blend of less expensive (and usually non-toxic) pigments. The same applies for other colors, such as cobalt blue/cobalt blue hue.

A popular palette is 2 of each primary (a "cool" and a "warm):
cad. red/alizarin or magenta
ultramarine/cerulean or cyan
cad. yellow/lemon yellow
+ white (usually titanium)
You can mix just about anything with these, but it's nice to have some earth colors/convenience colors too, some examples:
yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt umber, burnt sienna, indian red, naples yellow...
cad. orange, dioxazine purple, viridian green, sap green, permanent rose...

Someone who paints mainly florals and garden scenes would have certain "must-have" colors that someone else who paints portraits might never put on their palette. You'll need to do some experimenting to find out what suits you best If you're in the US, ASW has Lukas Berlin paints (most colors) for $2.99.
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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:34 am

Hi Mark! I would suggest the same palette as Callie. I find the split primary palette a great way to go.

As Callie pointed out you choose 2 of each primary.

Yellow that leans toward orange:

Cadmium Yellow Medium or Indian Yellow

Yellow that leans toward green:

Lemon yellow

Blue that leans toward green:

Prussian Blue, Cerulean, Cyan or Phthalo Blue Green Shade

Blue that leans toward violet:

Ultramarine Blue

Red that leans toward Violet:

Alizarin Crimson, Magenta or Permanent Rose

Red that leans toward Orange:

Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Light

If you choose two primaries that lean toward each other or within the red lines such as Lemon Yellow and Cyan you'll get a cleaner, high-intensity color. When you cross the line such as Lemon Yellow and Ultramarine Blue your color will be less intense. If you choose two colors that cross the line such as Cadmium Yellow Medium and Ultramarine Blue this color will be less intense then the color mixed with one color crossing the line. It's a great way to control your color and to visualize what's happening to a color as you mix. The reason the colors become less intense when you cross the line is you're introducing the third primary to the mix. To lower the intensity further you can select the complementary color which will fall across from the color you're mixing. Ex. The complementary color of Blue is Orange.

I think the Phthalo colors can create more problems as a beginner as it has a tendency to overwhelm a mixture. I did feel the need to add Burnt Umber to my palette as I like to mix Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber to make my near black. You can make black by mixing three primaries.


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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:35 am

Thanks for taking the time to explain (in detail) the split-complimentary palette, Janet.
I know some painters get by with 3 colors + white, and there's always a debate about which is better - the usual red-yellow-blue, or cyan, magenta, yellow.
I wouldn't want to limit myself with either! As you pointed out, the split comp. palette allows one to mix a much wider range of colors. Just try to get a bright purple with cad. red and ultramarine blue for instance.

Just to mix things up even more - there's also the "Zorn Palette" (Anders Zorn), though I don't believe he only used these colors:
A cool black (blue-black), indian red, and yellow ochre + white
A very "earthy" palette - not most people's cup of tea - but fun to experiment with.
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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:49 pm

Callie, being able to mix a much wider range of colors is exactly why I like the split-primary palette. I think if paints were truly pure pigments then 3 colors would do but their is no such thing in paint as a pure yellow, blue or red or if someone prefers cyan, magenta and yellow. The colors all have a tendency to lean toward a secondary color.

The Zorn Palette does seem interesting and can see how it might make a good subdued palette. I think I remember reading that their is evidence that he may have used Ultramarine Blue on his palette. Whatever he did he certainly did it well. I love his paintings!

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mes2370



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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:52 pm

Thanks Callie and Janet for your input. It is very helpful. I do have a basic understanding of color theory in painting, though coming from more of a film/digital background (with the primaries Red, Green, Blue) I have to think about it sometimes. I never really thought of a color having either a warm or cool tendency. Usually, I just thought of reds, yellows, oranges being warm and blues, greens, purples being cool colors.

So your examples of specific colors that have either a warm or cool side was very helpful. With so many colors to choose from, just out of chance, I probably would have picked up two primaries that were warm and and one cool then wondered why I couldn't get the color I was trying for.

I was considering picking up 4 or 5 colors to start with, but I will pick up six to have two of each of the primaries. And I'm sure I will pick up even more colors and brands over time.

Thanks again,

Mark
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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:04 pm

I think a lot of us are like kids in a candy store when it comes to paint colors. It may be possible to get by with a limited palette - but new colors are such a temptation!
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:51 am

I'm one that likes to give new colors a test drive. Swatches are always a good idea to see what your colors can do. I wouldn't venture into that territory unless you have extra paint as it can use up a lot of paint. One option for swatches is when you finish a session and have unused paint that you know will go to waste you can take some time to make some swatches from what is left over. Smile

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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:14 am

Janet,

I like your idea of using left over paint for swatches. You could even identify which painting it is from for swatches of mixed colors you used in that painting.

Judy

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mes2370



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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:30 pm

Callie wrote:
I think a lot of us are like kids in a candy store when it comes to paint colors. It may be possible to get by with a limited palette - but new colors are such a temptation!

True. Initially I will probably work with a limited palette, but I'm sure as I get more experience I will want to try out more.

Quote :
One option for swatches is when you finish a session and have unused paint that you know will go to waste you can take some time to make some swatches from what is left over.

Good idea, thanks. Also, is there a way to save some of the paints that are left over (at least for a little while) or do you just have to dispose of them?
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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:02 pm

You can purchase airtight containers to save your paint. I have some for beads that I've been meaning to try just haven't had a chance to try them yet.

This thread has a lot of great tips for preserving paint: http://watersolubleoils.forumotion.com/water-soluble-oils-f5/are-you-too-miserly-with-your-paint-how-to-change-that-t37.htm

This site has some great information on tubing paint for a more long term solution: http://underpaintings.blogspot.com/2009/01/tubing-paint.html

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mes2370



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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:12 pm

While doing some looking around online about split primary palettes I found this and thought it was interesting so I wanted to share.

http://handprint.com/HP/WCL/color14.html#splitprimary

The author seems to prefer the Secondary Palette to the split primary and the example color wheels comparing the two are interesting. I guess it would really be a matter or trying them and seeing which fits your own style the best.

Edit: I believe he is talking about watercolors so I don't know if this affects how oils will mix using a split or secondary palette will work.
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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:05 pm

That handprint site makes my head spin. There's lots of good info there, but I much prefer to just mix and experiment with my own paints so I know what works for me. At this point, I don't care whether one palette is superior to another or where a color falls in the light spectrum (more useful for computer monitors than canvasses), I just use whatever colors give me the end result I want. In spite of my unscientific method, it usually works out to the same 12 - 15 colors.
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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:54 pm

And i thought i was the only unscientific one. Judy

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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:56 pm

More fun to do it than read about it!
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:56 am

Well I guess I'm the odd one out here. I've researched color theory extensively. I spent a lot of time at the handprint site. The secondary palette does seem interesting. Thank you for sharing the link mes2370! Smile

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mes2370



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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:40 am

Janet wrote:
Well I guess I'm the odd one out here. I've researched color theory extensively. I spent a lot of time at the handprint site. The secondary palette does seem interesting. Thank you for sharing the link mes2370! Smile

You're welcome Janet. As the saying goes, "Knowledge is power". It's just information for people to use or disregard as best fits their style and workflow. I figured since I started this thread and got such great advice from everyone here that maybe someone else might find information on other methods useful.

I have a more technical background in color theory in photography (film and digital) so I find this type of information useful like you. But just like in photography once you have the knowledge you then need to get hands-on to actually experience it.

Everyone here has been so helpful sharing their knowledge and advice. I hope as I grow as an artist I can help contribute as well.
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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:37 am

I'm not bashing color theory/study! No way - it's very good to have some knowledge of it. I just don't want to make a career out of it. Working in print and web design - I've found I could easily go the same route with color-management for the computer. There came a time when I had to tell myself I really don't need another $60 - $75 book!
As for painting - same thing - I can fritter away a lot of time reading about it rather than doing it! I am an excellent procrastinator. And if you've spent a bit of time on the handprint site, you know you can't read just one little section - each one links to several other topics and before you know it... a few hours have passed!

(I did study color theory in school and it will always be of interest to me - but I find knowing how my actual paints will mix more practical than trying to memorize wavelengths and gamut ranges )
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:21 pm

I'm with you. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:15 am

I agree it's very easy to get side tracked by color theory so I would recommend keeping it simple:

- The color wheel. Either RYB, CMY or Munsell and stick to the on you choose. Very easy to end up confusing yourself by reading too much. It's called color "theory" for a reason.

- As soon as you add the third primary you're color will become desaturated

- Complementary colors

I'm sure their are a few more but I think this is where I would focus my attention as a beginner. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:08 pm

I think this is one of the best ways to learn about mixing color:



Thanks to Janet for sharing her color swatches with us!
Mix your paints and see what you get - you'll soon learn (for example) which blues and reds give you a clear, bright violet and which give you a murky brownish-purple
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mes2370



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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:26 pm

Thanks everyone for your advice. It is very helpful. I will be picking up some more colors soon so I can really get my hands dirty, so to speak, and learn by doing.

I'm the kind of person who likes to get as much info as possible before diving in, but I agree that sometimes one can get caught up in gathering too much information and lose out on actually doing what you are trying to learn.

-Mark
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:41 am

You're welcome Callie! You're rite hands on mixing is a major part of learning what your colors can do. It should have been on my list. Smile

Mark, you're so rite that it's easy to get caught up in gathering too much information. I've been guilty of that on many occasions. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:33 pm

The secondary palette you mentioned is very similar to the one I learned from my art teacher, and I have a small color chart that I made that seems to cover every paint color I would ever want to buy. Of course, after a while it's nice to have some ready made colors, so you don't have to do so much mixing. If you are interested in trying the Lukas Berlin water soluble oils, they have the CYM colors available, such as primary yellow (lemon yellow), primary blue (I can't tell but I think it is a warm blue), and primary red (magenta or cool red). Jerry's Artarama is now the United States distributor for Lukas Berlin. Good luck to you.
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PostSubject: Re: Limited Palette   Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:29 am

I'll be testing out the secondary palette as soon as I can pick up some of the Lukas Berlin Magenta. Thank you Crystal for pointing out that they carry it! Smile

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