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Limiting your Palette

Some artists prefer to stick to a small range of colours, preferring to mix their own. You can mix a good range of colours with only 2-3 colours plus white.

Limiting your palette can help to simplify things and to avoid overthinking. With oil and cold wax we can get a little carried away with creating textures and when we start to add in a range of colours then paintings can start to get a little busy.

What do I mean by limiting your palette? It's about limiting our colour choices. So try limiting your palette to 4 colours:

  1. A white
  2. A dark colour: indigo, paynes grey, burnt umber or black
  3. A warm colour: orange, Indian yellow, red, magenta, pink
  4. A cool colour: turquoise, green, blue

Make sure at least one is a translucent colour and that you have some nice bright colours in there.

  • Colours are identified as being opaque, transparent and semi-transparent.
  • Transparent allows light to pass through: layers of other colours beneath are visible as in glaze or tint
  • Opaque absorbs light unless they are heavily diluted.
  • If you are not sure whether a paint is transparent or opaque look at the label on the tube.

(Image to be added)