watercolour on an envelope with person and dog on the beach

Using a Limited Palette

I think a lot of painters start with certain colours and probably use those colours most of the time. It is like anything else in life – the more you use something the more you understand its qualities. That applies in watercolour and it always amazes me how many colours can be produced from a simple palette. These are the Winsor and Newton colours I use – Cadmium Yellow Pale, Lemon Yellow, Raw Sienna, Light Red, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Winsor Blue, Cobalt Blue and French Ultramarine. These are my main colours, but in addition I use Crimson Aliziron, Permanent Rose, Indian Red, Cadmium Red, Aurelian, and Paynes Grey. I use tube paints. There is nothing better than squeezing out paint into the palette – it seems to mark the start of the painting!

From these colours I can mix greens and purples and almost any other colour I might need.

I think it is important to create unity in a painting and it often helps to use a limited palette. Sometimes it is fun to create a painting with only two or three colours.

I have tried different papers but still prefer Bockingford to most papers – I think it is important to experiment and papers come in different textures which can be used for different effects.

As to brushes, I think that is personal taste. I don’t particularly like flat brushes and I tend to use round brushes – sizes 16, 12, 8, 6 and a rigger and I use a mop which is a lovely soft brush.

I buy most of my art materials at Ken Bromley Art Supplies www.artsupplies.co.uk