Painting with limited colours.

Plein-Air Painting, watercolour painting

 

Yesterday I painted a cemetery scene in watercolour in North Vancouver.BC. I was painting this picture in response to an on-line challenge by James Gurney, who is a great plein aire artist, author and illustrator. He is hosting a challenge to paint a cemetery in a restricted palette.  See his blog http://www.gurneyjourney.blogspot.com and look for Graveyard Challenge, October in the index.

Painting with limited colours forces you to work a little harder to mix your colours and the result is a more harmonious painting.  If you normally have 15 or so colours available to paint with it is easy to end up with a painting that lacks harmony when you start adding colours all over the place.

It is also more difficult to get contrast and deep colours when you are only using three colours to mix. The colours I used for this painting were cobalt blue, cadmium red and aureolin yellow.  I found this a great exercise for painting and will practise this more often. I also appreciate painting something I would not normally consider.  On line painting challenges are a great way to get out of your comfort zone.  Thanks for that James!