“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” —Georgia O’Keeffe
I can really identify with O’Keeffe’s quote. Do you find color enlivens your feelings and senses?
The colorful image below illustrates how to set up your personal artistic palette. To make things easier, you can purchase a container setup just like the image. A well-known one is the John Pike Watercolor Palette Plastic Palette.
When working with acrylics, I like to use a palette container that has a lid and a liner. It helps me keep my paint fresh until the next painting session. If your medium of choice is watercolor, there is less concern because the paint is still workable after it hardens.
I actively use the Double Primary Palette image when painting digitally. For instance, if I want to create a landscape painting I’ll upload the image as a reference layer and use it for blending the colors to accommodate my painting. Then I can record the blended colors as I build out the palette.
I place blobs of colors with my chosen brush in the middle of the palette, use my blending brush until I get the desired outcome. Then I can easily erase the mix and make room for the next. This comes in really handy for creating custom palettes and it also helps build color awareness and skill.
Blue Skies, Cloudy Skies, and In Between
The keys for painting any type of sky are also illustrated on the palette. A typical blue sky is a combination of Winsor Blue added to white, with a touch of orange. Cloudy skies start with combining various percentages of gray with other dull colors.
Creating Color Harmony
Have you ever noticed how some paintings just look flat? The eye knows something is missing. The illustration may be perfectly laid out to capture the artist’s intent but something feels off.
When blending color, remember to enhance the hues by adding red, yellow, blue in every color you mix. The other day I was painting a vibrant fuchsia-colored bougainvillea bush. I had the light just right but something was missing. When I added a little hint of orange with the various pink tones I had mixed, the bush began to pop on my canvas; the painting came alive.
In the next few posts, you’ll learn more about:
- Mixing and applying blue and cloudy sky hues
- How to lay down backgrounds and mountains
- Middle ground mixes, including trees
- Foreground mixes and examples, including rocks
Table of Contents for the Perfect Palette Series
- The Many Hues of Color
- Best Palette Colors to Build Depth
- The Double Primary Palette
- Painting Blue and Cloudy Skies
- Mixing Colors for Painting the Background
- Painting Mountains
- How the Middle Ground Creates Harmony
- Stepping Into the Foreground
- Laying Down Foreground Foundations: Rocks, Tree Mounds, etc.
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