I know the reason why, too. It’s because if I like a painter’s work, then I want to know how they achieve their good outcomes. That means not only their style and technique, but also the colors they use.
I’m always looking online or in books for a list of colors in so-and-so’s color palette. I think that if I use their colors, then my paintings will look like theirs.
There are two flaws in my thinking, and I’ll be the first to admit it.
One—just because I have researched and stocked up on each color in Monet’s palette (both his early and late period no less) does not mean any of my paintings will come close to the beauty of Monet’s. Oh, I wish that were the case, but reality has a way of bringing me back down to earth. And if all painters were using a limited number of color palettes based on what has already been painted, well, wouldn’t that be stifling.
Two—by “copying” some other painter’s palette, I have thrown my own native ability, not to mention creativity, under the bus (as they say), and why would I, or anyone, choose to do that. Indeed.
Yes, I have several lists of colors from several painters I really admire, and I have tried using their palettes in my paintings. But you know what? It just doesn’t work that way. Using their exact colors doesn’t equal a successful painting painted by me. Probably not for you either.
So, at least I have admitted to this, and I think that’s the first step in making a change.
What I have found, happily, is that there are colors that I really like in my paintings and that I find myself using again and again. That is, I am in the slow process of winnowing down my color choices to a manageable few. Although I don’t know what number of colors that will eventually be, I do know that I am enjoying the process.
I also know this is not a one-time thing. I understand that my palette may change over time with my artistic needs, and that is as it should be.
Just to give you one example of a recent choice, the more I use Lemon Yellow, the more I really like its brightness and versatility. It's on my list for now.