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Monday, April 26, 2010

Limited Palette Study

Lots going on at Home but things are getting back to normal.   Here's a limited palette sketch, for those people asking about it. Just under 3 hours work using Ivory Black, Burnt sienna (I like the more transparent ones), Yellow Ochre, and just a touch of Permanent Red.  It's a great way to get an immediate effect.  To me, they always feel like they are complete statements, even when they are considerably open in finish.  Keep in mind this is not something to do in class as it doesn't require the accuracy in color reading or the special handling required when painting in full and opaque color.  In class, accuracy to the model is what we strive for.  When you can paint the models as you see them, you will also be able to do limited palette. But the reverse is not true.  This painting is not the best example of the amazing range of limited palette painting.  And there are many changes that can be made to get different effects.  'Oil Painting Techniques And Materials' by Harold Speed has a great step by step using limited palette and 'painting from the life'.   Many painters used (and still use) limited  palette to great effect.  Anders Zorn is the best painterly example.  


  1. Richard, Beautiful portrait, and nice contrast with the brushy background/body indications.

  2. Love this!
    It echos Sargent to me..

  3. Nice overall semplicity and "old master" effect, really a tiny masterpiece.
    Best, Marco.

  4. Thanks everyone, for the kind responses. Yes, that limited palette goes a long way in creating an old master quality.

  5. Great painting!

  6. Real nice Rick! Both of them.
    Really fresh and have vitality.

    Keep these up :-)