Monday, April 25, 2016

Testing A Limited Color Palette

Recently someone asked me what I use to carry watercolors out and about with me.

I use a variety of things.  Depends on where I am going and what I intend to draw and how long I"ll be.

But every single day, everywhere I go, I am using a tiny Jack Richeson child's palette, which I got at my local art store, to test drive a limited palette of just 8 colors.

I first learned about this palette from Roz Stendahl's class in Sketchbook Skool--in the klass called "Beginnings."

I popped out that paints that came with the kit to use the tiny palette.  Then I put in eight Daniel Smith watercolors which I have been testing recently, and would like to try out in some of my sketches.

What I am testing here is quite intentional.

First, the two color combination that I learned from Roz as a great way to practice monochromatic sketching:  the indanthrone blue and the burnt sienna.  I paired them together on the right for easy access and refilling.

Second, a muted tone triad (which I also first discovered thanks to Roz) of indanthrone blue, deep scarlet, and nickel azo yellow.  I like these colors and how they run a bit neutral when combined, which fits the natural subjects I tend to like to sketch.  You can see I placed that across the top row, building from the blue which I had already put down.

Third a much brighter triad of colors I love!  I learned about these colors somewhere else, and I have no idea where.  I have had them in my paintbox for a long time, and am reacquainting myself with them.  This is ultramarine turquoise, quinacridone magenta, and isoindoline yellow.  This triad filled out the second row.

Finally, I had one little well left.  So into this I put Cascade Green.  I like this color, like the green base it gives me now and then.  And I love the way it mixes with the quin magenta.

The only thing I'd like to have on here that I don't currently have is a transparent orange.  I don't own any.  Yet.

Here are some of the mixes--you'll see each triads at the top.  On the bottom left, I show burnt sienna mixed with the green (which results in browns) and the blue (which results in grays).  On the bottom right, I substituted the Cascade Green into each triad in place of the blue, just to see what would happen.

One of the best things about this palette, for me, as I learn about colors, is how inexpensive and tiny it is.  I can buy three for under $10 and use them for different color combos.  And because the wells are so tiny, if I put paints into it that don't work out, I can either wipe them out without too much loss of paint, or use them up in monochrome paintings pretty quickly.   When I find something I really like, I move it into a slightly bigger palette (made from a candy tin) which holds full and half pans.

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