Experiments with a Limited Palette
// Gurney Journey
You can make a limited palette out of almost any two colors, as long as one is cool and the other is warm.
For this painting I used ultramarine blue and cadmium red scarlet, together with white. It's basically red, white and blue, so you can call it the "American palette."
Here's a video showing how the painting developed (Link to YouTube video):
With two colors that are near complements, it's fun to work over a surface primed with a color from the far side of the spectrum. I'm using blue and red over yellow. The yellow is about 95% covered up, but where it peeks through, it energizes the color scheme like a pinch of spice.
You might try orange + violet + white over a cyan underpainting, or yellow + cyan + white over magenta. You can also introduce black, either as an accent if you want to deepen the darks, or if you want to use it as a color of its own (such as black + orange + white over blue).
A two-color-plus-white palette has some advantages:
1. It's extremely fast to set it up and get it running. (I was painting while Jeanette was still fooling with her umbrella.)
2. It's good for beginners because it reduces your choices to light or dark and warm or cool.
3. It puts you into realms of color that you would never think of if you had all the color choices available.
I was using casein, but this method would work for any opaque paint: gouache, acrylic, or oil. If you're doing the painting in gouache, the priming should be done with a paint that gives a sealed surface (such as colored gesso, acrylic, or acryla gouache) so that wet layers don't pick it up.
Previously on GJ: Limited Palettes (with 53 comments)
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