Choosing paints and setting up your Paint Pallet
A blank canvas stands before you. An idea, picture or drawing is off to the side, painting tools await your command, and tubes of paint are sitting in a pile to be called out for action. What to do? Color can make or break your design, intent and harmony. Some artists can break all the rules and get away with it, while another artist, can use the same colours and the results are a disaster. I am no master at colour, in fact, I always struggle at colour and that is part of the fun. There is a saying that if you are struggling, then you are learning, so I always ensure that I am struggling with every new painting that I put before myself.
One of my ritual disciplines is my colour pallet as I always choose my colours before I start painting. I lay the tubes all out and visualize the completed project and how the colours go together. I mix the colours in my head and even consult my colour mixing book to ensure that I have the right choices before me. I do this for 4 reasons.
#1. Structure. To have your paints readily before you and not be searching around in your piles when you should be creative instead. By piles I am actually very organized. I have my yellows in a yellow bin, and my browns in a brown bin, etc.
#2. Planning. This gives you a chance to see if your colours are harmonious and work together right from the start. Is that “red” vibrant enough for the effect that you want, or should you bump it up a bit? This is when you can change things up to get your message out.
#3. The most important point in my opinion -> Harmony. If you are using these choice colours, you want to mix these colours with each of the others in order to get certain effects. Not always of course, you have free will, however, if you need to add a red to a blue, you want to maybe consider the red that you have in your pallet because it is already tied into the ‘thread’ of your painting tapestry. Even if the red and blue becomes another colour, it is a subconscious harmony.
#4. Less is more. I am a true believer in minimalism. I would not, for the life of me stifle the creativity of another ‘s decision to throw in lots and lots of colour choices. However, for me, I can do an entire painting with Naples yellow, red, black, white, burnt umber and maybe cerulean blue, or even less, and it would be vibrant. It is part of my challenge to see the range I can get, with less.
One last tip. If you are oil painting, have your pallet in a thin container that you can seal up, and stick that sucker in the freezer when your session is done. Then on your next session, you can start right where you left off. That pallet should stay fresh for a month or more.
Enjoy the gift of creativity!