Wednesday, January 19

Painting Primarily with the Three Primaries

A Reference Photo
In my last blog I blogged about primarily using the basic three primary colors—only—for your paintings.

Today, I’ll tell you why.

In keeping with the back to basics theme, I’ll keep it short and sweet, as they say.

Simply, there are three reasons for painting primarily with the three primaries—red, blue and yellow:

They’re (almost) all you’ll ever need. All other colors come from these three. Mix and match them as much as you like. Lighten them, darken them, neutralize them. Add white and you have many, many more combinations.

Color harmony. This is actually, I think, the most important reason. Using these three you won’t make mud unless you try to. Because there are only three, that means two are always combining in one direction or the other on the color wheel. They will always “go” together. Compare a painting with a limited palette to one that isn’t, and you’ll see what I mean. Color harmony makes all the difference.

Cost. This is probably not a factor for most painters at all, but if you only need to buy a red, a yellow, and a blue (along with white and maybe the occasional green), then you’re bound to be saving some money.

Today’s image is a reference photo for my current acrylic in which I’m using a limited palette—the three primaries, plus white and permanent green.

Happy Painting.

Until next blog…

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