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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Try a New Color Palette?

'Appalachian Fall'     8x8     pastel    ©Karen Margulis
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The collage I made of my Fall paintings was very telling. It always helps to see a collection of your work together.  It is easier to notice the good and the bad things going on.  When I looked at the collage it was clear to me that I had been using the same colors for all of the paintings (except for one)

It's not that they didn't work. The colors were bright and vibrant and did say 'Fall color'. But they were starting to look too similar.  While it is good to have a similarity in your work, I want to avoid having my paintings look like they were painted with a formula.  If I continue to use the exact same pastels/palette for every Autumn painting I might risk being too formulaic. So to shake things up a bit I turned to one of my favorite art books 'Confident Color' by Nita Leland.

Trying a New Palette of Colors
I love this book! It has really helped me understand color. I love chapter on harmonious palettes and using Triads.  In this chapter Nita takes the traditional triad of red,yellow and blue and shows us how we can change it to make variations on this palette.

I chose to use the Old Masters Triad. I thought the limited hue and intensity of these colors might be suitable for a gray overcast fall day.  Instead of red, yellow and blue I used Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Payne's Gray. Of course I had to find something close to these colors in my pastel box but I was able to come close. (see photo)

The result of using this palette was a more subdued Autumn landscape. I will play around with these colors some more before I put them away. It will be a good learning experience to see how this palette of colors changes the mood and tone of my paintings.

If you find you always reach for the same pastels for every painting try changing you color palette for a few paintings. You might discover some new favorite pastels!

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