Monday, July 4, 2016

Know Your Palette

Creating color charts is an eye-opening exercise that comes highly recommended by master artist Richard Schmid. Exact directions on how to execute these color tables are in his book Alla Prima. One of the best books written about painting in my opinion.

The purpose of the charts is to give the artist insight to how their chosen palette of colors interacts with each other. The charts then provide hardcopy color navigation to their color mixes. Understanding how your chosen colors interact is priceless information not only for the beginning artist but the advanced as well.

I don't use the charts for specific formulas per se but to support a visual memory as to which color combinations will get me closest to my desired target without convoluting the mix, in turn, helping accelerate the color mixing process.

Although a somewhat tedious job to complete, color charts can provide an incredible amount of information.  Depending on how many colors you use will determine how many charts, swatches and hours you will spend making them.

I'm currently using a modified double primary palette. Which is a warm and cool version of each primary color on the color wheel. Using just six colors plus white I tapped out at 500 swatches but could still mix a few hundred more if needed. This demonstration proves that a limited palette of color doesn't mean having a limited amount of choices.

I made these charts using acrylic paints on half sheets of canvas pad. Making them flexible, easy to carry and light weight.

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