Oil Palette - Keeping it Simple

[singlepic id=127 w=460 h=240 float=] Pastels are so beautiful, all those colors are so candy-like and tempting. It's hard not to grab an armload of new colors every time you walk into the art supply or open up a catalog. And you might as well, because the more colors you have, the easier it is to accomplish what you want. But of course, this hoarding gets expensive, and the more colors you learn that you can't live without, the more complicated re-ordering becomes. Unless you are among the most organized of us, you will eventually lose that label for your best light-greenish white with a hint of chartreuse. And as the number of tables and boxes devoted to pastel supplies grows, the likelihood of confusion increases. I currently own well over 400 pastels.

So here's something I love about oil painting: It is so easy to keep track of supplies! Of course, when I first decided to try my hand at oils, I approached it like a pastelist. I hadn't mixed colors in so long, I assumed I wouldn't be very good at it. I went to the oil paint section of the art store and started loading up a basket with all the colors I could find. Well, all the colors I could afford, anyway. I took them home and set them aside, not quite motivated to dig in.

Here are the paints I bought:

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Then one lazy Sunday I spotted an interesting title in a bookstore, and picked it up. It was Fill Your Oil Paintings With Light and Color by Kevin MacPherson. As I began to read and marvel at the beautiful work in the book, I found myself wishing I had gone to the bookstore first. Because in the book, the author explains how he uses a grand total of five tubes of paint to achieve every color in his palette. 

I decided to try this myself, so I chose five of my many tubes of paint, and got to work. My colors differed slightly from those suggested. For instance, I use a quinacridone red in place of  the alizarine crimson, finding that I can easily get the bright coral and carmine hues I like. (Quinacridones are synthetic pigments originally developed for auto paints.) But wouldn't you know, those five colors, now perpetually sitting on top of a drawer-full of unused paint, did everything I needed to do.

Here are the paints I actually use:

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Gotta love hindsight!