Friday, January 28

Start with a Limited Palette

Garden's Edge
Acrylic on Paper
Copyright 2011
A couple of blogs ago, I showed you my go-by reference photo for the acrylic painting I have been working on for what seems like months, but, in fact, has only been a few weeks.

That blog was about using primarily red, blue, and yellow along with the occasional green and, of course, white.

In my painting those are exactly the acrylic colors I used—ultramarine blue, vermillion, and primary yellow along with permanent green and, of course, titanium white. What I like is the strong colors of the flowers along with the varied greens of the vegetation.

These vivid colors were accomplished with this limited palette. That is the key point I wanted to make in the several blogs on the subject.

You should strive for a limited palette. If you must, lock your other colors away for awhile so you won’t be tempted to use them. Go do it right now, put them out of sight.

As I said, it is tempting to go for the mixed color in the tube. But remember, the paint manufacturers are in business to, what? Sell paint, of course.

In order to become the artist you want to be--you know, the artist with the wall-powerful paintings and whose work everyone wants to see—start with a limited palette.

Happy Painting.

Until next blog…


  1. I wonder if you have had any trouble with color temperature using only three colors plus white with your paintings?

    I find that I can do fine with about 7 tubes of paint, but I can restrict myself further if I stick to either cool or warm for the whole painting. But if I want a variety of cool and warm I need to use more colors.

  2. I really appreciate your comments. I think you are correct, although I haven't noticed that specifically (needing warm and/or cool colors specifically).

    In reality, I do usually paint with more than the 3 primaries (plus white in acrylic). I try to use Monet's palette of 9 colors (including white).

    However, for new newbies I wanted to have them begin with fewer so that they understand color mixing and harmony before adding additional colors.

    Thanks again for the comments.

  3. I have read that people can get a great deal of variety of colors and temperatures with magenta, cyan and yellow, with white. That is what is used in printers inks so it would be interesting to try it with paints.

  4. nice picture, We can print your artworks as Giclee prints or designer deckchair artworks.