Wednesday, 16 June 2010

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of Back Percy Street

In an email post this week I was sent details of how Bulgarian-born painter Ignat Ignatov
used a limited palette. Ignatov pared down his colour choices to include four pigments: titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red, and ivory black this palette was associated with the work of Anders Zorn and is used in some of his paintings. He took up the handful of colours to perfect his ability to evaluate colour and harmony.

The four colors used in the Zorn palette create a muted color spectrum, as it incorporates the three primary colors, with black standing in for blue. Similar to looking through a color filter certain colors are suppressed.

The closest a painter can come to blue is gray mixed with black and white; the greenest green is a mixture of black and yellow ochre; purple is a mixture of black, white, and red. The palette limits the saturation and intensity of several colors, yet the subdued tones often help artists recognize complimentary colors and strengthen their understanding of the structure and formulations of the color wheel.

Now I've tried this in oils and adding ochre to the black gives up some beautiful olive greens, but not so with acrylic, ochre and black yields a dirty grey ochre ,so I had to add cobalt and hookers green to the mix to get a decent result. I normally use a palette similar to that of Richard Schmidt, but I can see the value of having a limited choice if only to make you think of what can, and cannot be achieved.

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