Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Landscape Painting Color Block In with a Limited Palette

Work in Progress, Color Block in

Today's video can also be viewed on my YouTube Channel

Here's the next painting in the new series.I'm still working 24x30, in Chroma Interactive Acrylics on stretched linen. I started this one without first doing an under painting, going directly to the color block in instead.

I'm working with a very specific limited palette comprised of an earthy version of the three primaries, they are yellow ochre, transparent red oxide, and ultramarine blue.  For the initial block in of the sky and water I used warm white and mars black to make a warm gray with brown undertones.

This palette of colors sometimes substitutes a black for the ultramarine blue and burnt sienna instead of transparent red oxide. You might hear this called the Velazquez palette or possibly the Anders Zorn palette which is similar but often has vermillion in adddition to the other colors. This palette of colors may be even older than these artists.  Pliny the Elder describes the Greek painter Apelles (c.370 BCE) using a palette consisting only of "white from Milos, Attic yellow, red from Sinope and the black called atramentum" — that is, lead white, yellow ochre, red ochre and carbon black.. The Altamira cave paintings of 15,000 years ago are rendered in carbon black and red ochre on yellow limestone walls. It's a very compelling mix of smokey, earth colors. I find that it's best to hold off adding white to any of your mixes for as long as possible when you begin a painting and let the earth pigments react with one another particularly if you're using transparent red oxide. That way you'll gain the benefit of light shining through the paints transparency.

It's always great to try something new and with a limited palette you can hardly go wrong. You'll learn a lot about mixing colors, create color harmony, and set a mood with ease. Why not give it a try!

View more paintings on my website http://www.janblencowe.com/
Need to contact me? jan.blencowe@comcast.net

1 comment:

AutumnLeaves said...

What a great written piece, Jan. I love reading of art history. Maybe that is where my heart lies. I just cannot seem to turn out anything worth mentioning in art itself.