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Painting with two colours

(Gary Westlake) #1

I was spot sampling the colours in a painting that I admired using my computer and realized that all the colours could be mixed from two. I use the eye dropper in a program called Gimp but Photoshop would have the same function. The painting used a blue with small variations from ultramarine to cerulean and an orange with small variations with more red or more yellow. These two colours mixed with white produced to my eye a very pleasing image. It might make an interesting excercise to try this very limited palette. What do you think?

(Terri-Anne Barge) #2

I saw a watercolour painting completed from a greenish blue and new gamboge. The range of resulting colours was amazing. Your idea would make a great weekly challenge.

(Johan Derycke) #3

The great thing about using a limited palette is that there is a lot of unity in your work because every mixture contains all the colours used. It’s the main reason why I also use a limited palette. It varies, but usually contains a blue, a red and a yellow + white. Sometimes I add one colour to be able to mix black (eg burnt sienna when my blue is ultramarine, or phtalogreen or viridian when my red is alizarin).

I gotta admit I’ve not tried the 2 colour (and I assume + white) yet.
It sounds very interesting to say the least.

(Christine Derrick) #4

Many years ago my art-class teacher made us try painting a picture using just ultramarine blue, burnt sienna (think it was sienna and not umber) plus white; can’t recall actual images but the results were interesting, all sorts of tonal variations. I’ve seriously reduced the number of colours I use when doing oils, down to six plus white; a few others kept in reserve. It is possible to do it with pastels as well, although I haven’t made any serious attempts.
Agree it would be a good Challenge.

(Gary Westlake) #5

Related to this, I came across an on-line gamut mask that Richard Robinson has provided free to use. It helps restrict your palette to harmonious colours.


(Gary Westlake) #6

…and the reverse… here is a computer application for the Windows operating system that takes an image and shows you its gamut map

and a post by James Gurney that talks about it

(Michael Sason) #7

I mainly use a limited palette and do not find it limiting at all. Great color harmony is achieved since all
colors relate perfectly.
I challenged myself with a painting only using red, green and yellow plus white. I added yellow because white cools down a color, so in order zo compensate for this I added a bit of yellow.
Here it is …

You are more than welcome to check out my palette here

(Bob Kimball) #8

Gary, I know what your saying but Ultramarine blue and Cerulean blue are different from each other and if you want to make orange yellower or redder, wouldn’t you need to also have red and yellow on your palette? I know what your saying about using few colors though. I use only the necessary colors for each painting and nothing more. If I use more than that, the painting can get out of wack real fast.
I don’t use the Zorn palette but a lot of people do for that exact reason.