Monday Motivator: Fewer Colours Are Liberating

“Your colour palette is one place you can easily simplify your paintings. The more colours you use, the more complex they are to manage. Every additional colour on your palette introduces a vast range of colour-mixing opportunities. … a reduced or limited palette … forces you to use and manipulate every colour you can”

Mike Bernard, “Experimental Coasts in Mixed Media“, page 30

Painting is one decision after another after another after another. Colour choices, mixing possibilities. Too many colours can lead to indecision, and procrastination as you investigate mixtures. Exploring colour mixing isn’t a bad thing, but might it be the issue that’s in the way of you developing and finishing a painting? Fewer colour choices, and getting to know intimately how these interact with one another, leads to more intuitive, faster colour decisions, more painting.

If you watch the video in my last blog post, you’ll see me painting with two of my favourite colours in my beloved blue + orange combination, putting out just enough paint for what I want to do. Prussian blue I’ve long used; transparent orange I discovered a few years ago. Many people don’t like Prussian blue because it’s such a dominant colour, but through using it often I’ve learnt how much will have what result. If I change blue, I am more likely to have to tweak a mix.

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