Saturday, August 02, 2014

Creating Color Harmony in Oil Paintings Using a Limited Pallet

Most beginning painters want to solve the problem of color choice by buying as many colors of paints as their budget will allow. Before buying all of those paints, why not try the limited pallet that so many great artists use and are very successful with. Try these colors: titanium white, ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, cadmium yellow light, and I add one more paint to the list--transparent oxide red, or some companies call it transparent red oxide. I use the transparent oxide red for my darks and grays. By mixing transparent oxide red with ultramarine blue, I get very close to a transparent black. When I mix white with my darks and more ultramarine blue, I get a cool gray.  When I mix my darks with more transparent oxide red, the result is a warm gray. Mixing cadmium yellow light to these darks and grays gives me a whole series of greens. By using this limited pallet, you can mix virtually all of the colors in nature with the exception of some colors of flowers. If you are painting flowers, you may need to add alizarin or some purples. Remember that your computer printer uses red, yellow, blue and black ink. The color of the paper adds the white. The advantage of using this pallet is that you can very easily go back and remix any color that you have previously mixed.

"Tuckered Out," 11x14 Oil on Canvas by Tommy Thompson

An art gallery director remarked that this painting illustrates color harmony. I created "Tuckered Out" depicting a farmer carrying water to his little cabin in the foothills of Tennessee. Country life figures prominently in my paintings because of my childhood. Art critics have told me that my painting style resembles that of the Barbizon school. The Barbizon school of painters were part of an art movement toward realism in art. The Barbizon school was active roughly from 1830 through 1870. It takes its name from the village of Barbizon, France, where many of the artists gathered. Some of the most prominent features of this school are its tonal qualities, color, loose brushwork, and softness of form. The Barbizon painters preserved a rapidly disappearing rural life style and focused on painting working people as they went about their daily life. Two of the noteworthy Barbizon painters include English painter, John Constable, and the French painter, Camille Corot.

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