April 2011 Newsletter/Limited Palette

The President’s Palette

Finally, I understand that principal!  I had read several times that it is necessary to have both a cool and warm hue of each of the primary colors on my palette.  The reason is to use the cool colors in the background and the warm colors in the foreground, because cool colors appear to recede and warm colors advance.  This is typically referred to as having the correct color temperature for areas of your painting, which is essential to create the illusion of space.  Now, having taken the John Pototschnik workshop, I better understand this principal.  It is not necessary to have a cool and warm hue of each of the primary colors, but it is important to select the three primary colors, either cool or warm, to achieve an overall temperature for a painting.  For example, a morning scene would use primary colors with a cool bias, and an afternoon scene would benefit from the use of primary colors with a warm bias.

No color is either cool or warm by itself, but only in comparison with other colors.  John works with a limited palette of the three primaries, only one of each, so that the final painting is harmonious.  He mixes all secondary and tertiary colors from these three primaries, plus white, thus ensuring color harmony.  The addition of more “pure” colors, including additional primaries for the sake of temperature change, only increases the risk of having a painting that lacks color harmony.

Painting is an applied art, with progress only being made through study, painting, and determination.  This progress is endless since there is no arrival destination.  The highlights are when a painting instructor explains a concept that, when understood, brings a time of joyful understanding into my mind.  I do not expect to ever stop, because with increased understanding comes an even greater expectation of painting something more beautiful than what I created last month or last year.

As artists, we are so fortunate to be able to make a painting “come alive,” creating beauty from nothing.  I am continually amazed and delighted!

Quotes of the Month

“One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity.”  Auguste Renoir

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”  Camille Pissarro

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