A limited Palette

A limited Palette

Please don't rely on my limited knowledge , as I will freely admit that I have no formal training and the things I have learnt along the way are usually just my opinion or from my own experience. There are many more knowledgeable artists out there .That said I do enjoy painting with a limited palette and my 3 favourite colours to use are yellow ochre, cadmium red and cobalt blue. I have produced a lot of paintings with just these 3 colours and to my mind they are perfect for this autumnal time of year.

The yellow ochre is a lovely warm tone that is lovely in the sky, and I also use the yellow in the wings to show the flight of the birds, Then the red and blue create so many different purples, from a distant blue for the background hills to a darker purple for the foreground.

I used these three colours again predominantly in this piece. I have added some blue and green but this piece is much more detaied. The yellow ochre produces such a warm feeling in the foreground field and the dark purple is a great contrast under the hedges.I have also splattered some water into the wet paint to produce the random patterns that watercolour is so good at.

In this woodland scene I paint the background trees straight into the yellow ochre of the sky, and use yellow ochre as the light on the trees. The more observant amongst you will see there is a bit of green in this piece too , but by just using a limited palette you can achieve a real atmosphere.

I have learnt that you need to paint what you see and not what you think you see, as I did with the shadows in the tree below

So these are my 3 favorite colours and I find it incredible how versatile they can be , experiment yourself with a limited palette and see what happens x

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Hi George thankyou for reading my blog and your question I use winsor and newton paints and bockingford paper.


Rachel – another inspiring blog that offers a great insight into your beautiful work! I love the simplicity of a limited palette that demands control of tone to be effective. I have one question about equipment – do you favour one make of paint over another and what paper do you use?

George Acheson-Thom

I have always liked your work particularly your colours. The trees are lovely, and your animals never appear static or awkward. The hare is my favourite thanks for the blog it was very interesting.

Shirley griffiths

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