Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How I am Avoiding Painting Color Charts

'Among the Lupines'          5x7      oil on panel      ©Karen Margulis SOLD
I am not a chart person. Yes I know I should be making color charts with my palette.  I know it will help me mix the right color. It will help me understand what the colors can do.  But I am a messy painter. Charts scare me because they always look so neat!  I love looking at the neat little squares of colors and I envy the artists who have the patience to do the charts. Maybe I will do them someday but for now I am avoiding them. So what am I doing instead?

My Limited Palette and the piles of colors used for this painting
I have chosen just to paint ...a lot.  I have committed to doing five small oils a week and so far I have painted 21 this month. My thought is that I am learning about my palette and mixing colors by just doing it. I am learning by trial and error and making some wonderful discoveries as well.  For me, creating a small painting is more satisfying than making a chart. It may take me longer to understand what each color will do but I am having fun figuring it all out.

It is a big help that I am using a limited palette for all of my paintings. I am using Ken Auster's palette of Black, White, Cad Yellow medium, Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue. I plan to use these colors until I am confident  I know what they can do. Then I will gradually try other colors. So far I am amazed at the range of colors I can get from this limited palette. Using just a few colors keeps it all manageable. The challenge I gave myself for this painting of Lupines was to see how many variations of purple I could mix. I had so much fun!


10 comments:

vickiandrandyrossart said...

Too funny, Karen! I love doing charts...the combinations are SO cool. Have done one with the late Ann templeton's palette, then schmid's. Now working on with a student with my newest palette, double primary. It helps so much! Just go get some 1/4" masking tape and some lg canvas pads from hobby lobby. You can get three 'pages' from one. Use a small palette knife and do one color a day. Won't take :30 or so each. You'll be glad you did...

Karen said...

Thanks for the tips about the canvas pads and palette knife. That actually doesn't sound all that bad!! OK One color a day! :)

Helen Cooper said...

lovely painting! limited palettes are a great dicipline!

Karen said...

Thank you Helen! I am having fun with it!

Susan Roux said...

It's a playful painting and I like the range of purples you found.

Karen said...

Thanks Susan. I love anything purple so this was fun!

robertsloan2art said...

I've done a lot of color charting in various mediums - except oils. I can see your point about doing small paintings instead. Color charts are something personal, people either like them or they don't.

I think I'd get frustrated about waiting weeks for the color charts to dry, but who knows? I might have a go anyway, it's not like I don't have tons of little canvas boards.

Karen said...

I know Robert! I really should try them . I think I don't like them but who knows....one color a day should be manageable!

Marietjie said...

Hi Karen
Lavendar is one of my favourite flowers and this painting is just beautiful. Love your loose style.

robertsloan2art said...

Karen, I saw some abstract paintings in Chicago that I could swear were meticulously painted color charts without the captions. I've always considered trying something like that for color charting - build up the chart itself into an abstract painting. Why should the swatches necessarily be exactly squares? Why not other shapes and forms, with some areas having soft transitions to see what happens on a gradient?

Whatever you do to test the colors, it works if you understand how the paint mixes and what you get. Lots of little paintings would work just as well! If you've got a set with a variety of different pigments, there's also doing the same small painting with different narrow palettes - one with Ultramarine for the blue, another with Pthalo Blue Red Shade, another with Cobalt... that sort of thing.

I do that a lot in watercolor. I try to rotate which of my paints I'm using so I don't just use up the Ultramarine faster than any of the rest. lol