Acrylic on Arches Watercolor Paper
16 x 6 in/40.6 x 15.2 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2018
I'm not talking about just one color (plus white), although there is a school of thought that says that's a good way to start because it makes you concentrate more on values than color. I am talking about using the absolute minimum number of colors to achieve your painting goals. That usually, but not always, means a variation of each primary plus white (maybe). With just these limited colors, you can mix all the rest. It's an exercise in learning about color.
You've probably heard of Anders Zorn and his famous "Zorn" palette. He was a famous Swedish painter who used only three colors plus white. He used mars black (the blue), yellow ochre (the yellow) and vermilion (the red). His somewhat muted paintings are beautiful and it's surprising the number of values and colors he achieved with just these three plus white. If you're not familiar with Zorn, you should read up on him and his palette; it's fascinating if you paint.
Another thing about a limited palette is that it makes your paintings more harmonious. That's because every value and color variation in the painting was produced from just the few colors. All the colors in the painting go together, and you get instant harmony.
Today's image was not painted using Zorn's palette. I did use a limited palette, however, consisting of cad red light, cad yellow light, raw umber plus titanium white. I was pleased.
Just think how much you'll save on paint.