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Friday, April 20, 2012

Make Oil Painting Simple with a Limited Palette

'Sunflower Joy'              5x7          oil          ©Karen Margulis             SOLD

My Limited Palette

My studio smells like oil paint today!  I love it.  I bought some oil paints a couple of years ago but  I haven't made time to use them.  I have done maybe a half dozen small paintings but I was frustrated by the learning curve.  I know the only way I will get better is to paint more often.  After seeing all of the wonderful oil painters at the Plein Air Convention I decided I needed to make a commitment to conquer the oils. So I am going to paint 5 small oil studies each week. I did two today so I am on my way! 
 I am going to make it simple....I have set up an easel dedicated to oils and I have a corner of my studio where I can leave it set up. I am also going to start with a limited palette. At the convention, Ken Auster painted with a limited palette of 5 colors and did a beautiful painting. So for today's painting I used his palette of:
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cad Yellow Medium
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Black
  • White
I enjoyed the limited palette. I am not used to mixing colors. With pastels I can just reach in my box for the color and value I need. Having just a few colors to mix kept me from being overwhelmed. I think once I get used to mixing colors I'll be able to add some variety.  I want to keep it simple for now.  Here is a quote on using a limited palette from Ken Auster.
"When using a limited palette you solve most of your problems.  You can't mix the wrong color.  You can just put it in the wrong place"

My Oil set-up Easy-L Easel
 When I began with pastels I made a commitment to paint 50 small pastels. It really did help me understand the medium. I highly recommend it.  The key to making this kind of challenge work is to make it simple. Have your supplies set up. Have your paper/canvas ready to go. Have your subject matter or reference photos ready. If you have to set up every time or search for supplies you are more likely to make excuses.

'Marsh Magic'                5x7          oil     sold
 I am interested in learning a new medium because so many artists tell me how oils will help my pastels. I am always learning and working to become a better artist. I will plan on posting about my oil painting journey. And I welcome your comments and advice.

If you would like to try Ken's limited palette I invite you to check out a facebook group called The Limited Palette Challenge.  Group members are challenged to do 5 paintings with this palette and post them to the group. Ken Auster will be choosing one painting to win one of his DVDs!


vickiandrandyrossart said...

Nice job, Karen! Hard to believe you haven't worked much in oil!

Karen said...

Thank you! It was fun. I think I am going to enjoy this. I don't want my pastels to get too lonely!

Paula Ann Ford said...

Wonderful pieces, Karen!!!

Karen said...

Thank you Paula! Now I just have to make sure my pastels don't get too lonely!

Deb Austin said...

Did you see any artists at the Plein Air Convention using water-soluble oils?

Karen said...

I didn't notice but I imagine with over 500 artists someone was! The one painting day we had was so cold and windy it was all I could do to stay warm. I wanted to get close and take pictures but I had to keep moving!

robertsloan2art said...

Wow, this is beautiful. Gorgeous palette. I'm going to have to try it. Thanks for linking to the Facebook group. Five little paintings isn't too much for me!