Wednesday, March 13

Experiment With Color

The Bright Unsaturated Palette
Copyright 2013
One exercise suggested to me was to learn how different color palettes affect your painting. We were to paint the same motif in watercolor using different primaries: reds, blues, yellows.

It's always educational to try color palettes you normally don't use.

In this exercise we had a choice of six color palettes of which we were to choose four. The painting was a single rose stem laid on an open book with strong shadows.

The six palettes were: Intense (Winsor yellow, red, blue); Opaque (yellow ochre, Indian red, cerulean blue); Bright Unsaturated (raw sienna, brown madder, indigo); Standard (cadmium yellow, cadmium red, French ultramarine blue); Delicate (aureolin, rose madder, cobalt blue); and Old Masters ( yellow ochre, burnt sienna, Payne's gray).

I decided to use Bright Unsaturated, Opaque, Delicate, and Old Masters mainly because I already had all those colors except for aureolin--maybe I can substitute a similar yellow.

What I learned, not surprisingly, is the color palette choice makes a difference although not as big a difference as I was expecting. The main difference was in the clearness and intensity of color and the way it affects the mood of the painting.

The Bright Unsaturated palette looked the most realistic and true to life to me. The Opaque was just what you would expect-- not at all transparent, and something was not quite right. The Old Masters looked as if you were looking at an old sepia tint photo with muted colors, which I guess is OK if that's what you want.

As it turned out I didn't find a substitute for aureolin, so I didn't do a Delicate palette. But I have used the Delicate palette before, and I will tell you the result is a relatively pale outcome since none of its colors are intense.

The other thing I noticed, again not surprisingly, was how very difficult it is to mix a green for the leaf on the rose stem. Without the proper blues and yellows it is almost impossible to get a pleasing green.

Anyway, if you have the time, experiment with color and learn something about your paints.

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