Limited Palette


30 in 30 challenge, day 24

Remember the big box of 48 crayola colors? The sticks stood lined up like fans in bleachers. The tiered layers were full of luscious color. A kids delight. That was in 1948. And then to top that off ten years later came the box of 64. What a treat! Now, there are even more colors in a plastic telescoping case that works like a lazy susan. Is there a kid in the US that hasn’t held a crayon and created a piece of art?

Primarily as a pastel artist, my box of sticks even beats a crayola carousel of color.  Pastelists are always in search of that elusive stick of color that will make their mark making and painting that much easier. I have spoiled myself with quite a stash.

Working in oils for the last three weeks brought me back to a humble palette of seven colors, two yellows, two reds, two blues and a green. And what it has done has made me think about mixing colors and and making neutrals. For instance, I have a warm yellow, it has a bit of red in it, and when I mix that with a cool red which has some blue I have a mix of all three primaries (yellow, red, blue) and the resulting color is dull rather than vibrant. So as I go through my palette I am asking myself what is the “mix” of each color and how will that mix influence the other. Blue and yellow may make green but what a variety one can get with two yellows and two blues, depending on each colors bias to warm and cool. So going back to the basics with a limited palette might be the best thing I’ve done in a long time.


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