An artist’s palette is like their fingerprint. No two are the same! The colors we use are mostly for convenience and style, although the process is also deeply personal. Because truth be told, we all see the world through our own lens. And biologists have proven that everyone sees colors differently and responds to them in varied ways.
I stumbled upon my group of colors in a strange way. To quote the great Bob Ross, it was a very “happy accident.” I did a TON of studying on color theory (which is a science) before I started oil painting and found that a DOUBLE PRIMARY palette is the way to go. What this means is that I use two yellows, two reds, and two blues. A “warm” and “cool” version of each. I’ve found that these 6 colors can mix anything you need to get, within reason of course. Some colors such as Viridian and Cerulean Blue cannot be mixed with these, as their hues are uniquely rich in pigment. But rest assured, you can mix pretty much ANYTHING else!
So without further ado….here is my palette…
Now we can see the warm and cool primaries along with a couple others I’ve added along the way, and for good reason. I added Green Earth recently, although I don’t use it a whole lot. The reason being is that it saves me a lot of time mixing a dark green. I like to use this as the shadows for palm trees and other vegetation. I also added Burnt Sienna, which is simply indispensable. Not only as a vibrant earth color but also because I use it to make BLACK. To get black all you have to do is mix Burnt Sienna with *Ultramarine blue.* This is commonly called ‘chromatic black,’ meaning that it is mixed from two colors and also because it is a lively mixture unlike Ivory or Mars Black, which are essentially lifeless and can deaden other colors when added. Black IS important and it DOES exist in nature…much to the chagrin of art educators the world over. Just make sure you mix a chromatic black. To make the black warmer, add a tad bit more Burnt Sienna. To make it cooler, or to make a cool gray, add in a larger amount of Ultramarine and mix it with equal parts white.
These are the two biggest hitters in my arsenal. I could not paint my bold and dramatic seascapes without them. Pthalo (leaning towards yellow on the color scale) and Ultramarine (leaning towards red) have been staples on my color palette for a long time. I use a LOT of Ultramarine paint. I use the Pthalo blue in smaller portions, for it is one of the strongest staining pigments on the market. A small dab of it will turn a puddle of Cadmium Yellow Light into a deep rich green. Manufactures even warn buyers of its relentless strength on their websites! 😉
The white I use is Titanium, which is also fairly strong considering how opaque it is. It is a mainstay for me though, because I couldn’t work without it. I’ve gone through more tubes of Titanium than any other paint!
For those of you that haven’t seen my artwork, you can view it here http://www.ryankimbaart.com/
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I hope you enjoyed getting a VIP tour into my palette, and I hope you all have an AWESOME week–filled with creativity, fun, and personal growth. Stay tuned for my next post, which I am VERY EXCITED about! Next time I will be showing you how to paint a tropical seascape with palette knives! So be sure not to miss it. It should be super fun and informative.
*Ryan Kimba now on etsy*