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3 Colour &
Colour Mixing

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Broadway Foot
Hawnby
Nr Helmsley
York YO62 5LT

01439 798214

 

CHOOSING A LIMITED PALETTE:

One of the many problems that beginners experience is using too many colours - not knowing (a) which two colours to mix together (b) which two colours to mix to produce a more subtle effect and (c) knowing how strong some colours are in relation to others, etc. The finished work is a bit of a "hotch-potch" lacking the harmony and subtlety that can be produced by a skilled painter who often uses only 3, 4 or 5 colours out of the whole range on his palette. So how does the skilled painter choose his colours?

With the aid of your colour wheel you can plan a colour scheme before you begin. A limited palette can mean simply working with l red, l yellow and l blue and making these serve all your needs (the equivalent of Phthalo blue, Lemon Yellow & Permanent Rose, the only 3 colours plus black used by the printing industry!) Get to know the colours you can mix by experimentation and gradually add to your range. It is a slow but enjoyable process. Always record your findings. You will find that certain colour combinations appeal to you and your choice of a limited palette becomes your stamp - just as your style and brushwork will.

LIMITED PALETTE - PRACTICAL EXERCISES

1. Choose a 3 primary colour limited palette (e.g. Lemon: Perm rose; Phthalo blue) and see the range of colours you can mix. Record the results.

2. Choose a l primary + 2 tertiary colours limited palette (e.g. Ultra Blue; raw sienna + burnt sienna) and see the range of colours you can mix. Record the results.

3. Choose a 4 colour limited palette (e.g. ultra blue; light red; raw sienna and lemon yellow as example illustrated) and see the range of colours you can mix. Record the results.

Example of landscape using a four colour limited palette:

Ultramarine Blue
Light Red
Lemon Yellow
Raw Sienna

 

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