Why do I choose to create limited palette art?

A question from one of my collectors, thank you so much 🙂

Introduction to Painting

When starting out on this self taught artistic journey I am on, it was with pencil. Creating grading and shapes from that bit of carbon was really quite easy for me and I was-even if I say so myself-quite an accomplished drawer.

Tiger Tiger 2010

Randomly the colour red got me into painting. I love red in artwork for some reason, it draws my eye and holds it there. Even some of my palest paintings have a spot of red somewhere in them. I was drawing a rose and had full depth and perfect highlights but I wanted more. I had some gouache paint and got the red out and painted a very thin layer over the pencil. Didn’t destroy it!! Result!! After a few coats of the gouache and more pencil to get the dark shades back in and it was my first colour painting ever – with just one colour, or limited palette art, once I had discovered this trick there was no going back. i had a phase of doing nothing but horses, I mean maybe 100+ and they were very popular, but, as an artist, one must move on and continue to learn and grow.

The Learning Curve

That’s where I learnt to limit my palette, less colour to struggle with but still capturing light and shade and atmosphere. 8 years later and although I have progressed degrees with my colour I still have a soft spot for controlled colour. They are dramatic without being distracting. Limited palette neutral colours and limited blue palette are my choice for painting in oils as the colours still remain so vibrant and there is an alarming amount of shades from just four colours to produce stunning limited palette art.

The Reason

There is an added harmony with, I find, between the colours that is concentrated rather than dispersed through different colours, and it brings a certain balance and calm that can be healing to a busy mind. The interaction of colours on the canvas emphasises value (light and dark) over colour. This is why I could slip so easily into it from a standard pencil.

Calmness of the Ocean Seascape Oil Painting
The Calmness of the ocean 2021

For people reading this coming from a drawing background, I would certainly recommend some practice with limited palette art, it is a little less intimidating than a fully loaded palette and, as mine, your eye will be trained for shapes, negative space and values. These skills can be transferred to a neutral tone palette i.e brown, yellow, white and black. Progress one colour at a time so you can learn what each one does and its limits. This is the path that worked for me.

The Continuing Journey

My journey now seems to be taking me into limited palette abstract oil paintings, having done a few of them I really am getting a feel for how my style fits into such a busy and vibrant area that is full of big, bold, bright vibrant colours. I am definitely not an expert in this abstract area but drawing on lessons learnt from hundreds of limited palette art, I can transfer this knowledge onto my new path of abstract.

Limited Palette Abstract 2021

I am surprised it has taken me so very long to find abstract art as at its simplest it is shapes and negative spaces that bring impact to a piece. I think I was a bit daunted by the use of such vast quantities of colour in many abstracts. Having gone back to my basic skillset and incorporated into abstract shape and texture I feel a sense of freedom of expression that I have not felt in some time.

I hope to continue with the abstract painting and hope that people are as interested in that as they are my other limited palette works.

Until next time …….

Wild Camping in Rhayader

Wild camping in peaceful rural Wales Rhayader

Well!! Wild Camping in the great outdoors, (NO WIFI) what an experience that was !! Me and the kids in a tent in a field in the wilderness for 2 days. The plus side was I have paid more for 30 minutes on a bouncy castle than we did for 2 days camping!!

Rhayader, Wales

Truth be told we all loved it, it was peaceful (silent at night) no hoards of people, no noisy neighbours, no clubhouse, no nothing really, just stunning welsh scenery and …. well….. sheep, a LOT of sheep!!! I wasn’t sure how we were going to get on with wild camping as its been about 20 years since I have been and NEVER with the kids. Surprisingly the kids loved it, followed all instructions and we were set up and had a cuppa within 45 minutes. I had visions of tantrums and tiaras and trying to bang tent poles in at 11pm in the pitch black, but no, it went well!!

It was forecast for thunder storms – foolishly we decided to go anyway feeling all very gung-ho! But I am so so very pleased we only had 2 mild showers – even they were enough to flashback to 20 years ago when I romantically thought camping in the foothills of Ben Nevis would be sublime, it literally rained the WHOLE time and the field was a marshy bog, with a Golden Retriever in toe it was a recipe for disaster.

After much consternation about the temporary toilet for the weekend everyone settled in to the wild camping life (traveller life as the kids called it) got the cooker out, successfully made food (soup) successfully ate it without too much spillage, we settled into a good old game of cards. The fresh air and lack of wifi signal sent us all to bed early – that an the shear physical effort it takes to be a camper, having a full body work out from start to finish – but of course we couldn’t sleep!! how noisy are sheep ?? when there is no other noise it is like being at a sheep rock concert right next to the speakers wishing you had ear defenders on!

Wild Camping in Rhayader
View from the Tent

We decided it was a bad job and we would just wait up to see a clear sky with no light pollution what-so-ever (nearest town was a few miles away) surely this is what Wild Camping was made for. Desperately wanting the kids to see what the sky really looks like without the aid of street lights we sat patiently waiting for the skies to clear, and we waited……and listened to the sheep … and waited…… and waited …… At 11.30 the sheep were quiet, it was pitch black and silent. The silence was LOUD it was so quiet!!

While I was doing my best to get in touch with my inner nature lover and creative juices flowing, the kids were impatient and started falling over guide ropes and stuff so we decided to call it a night and disappointedly went to bed. It rained a couple of times in the night …. I know because I got woken up by the kids saying “what’s that noise” …… but we stayed waterproof and made it through the night.

All in all we loved it and are planning our next weekend already!! Rhayader was wonderful and I would recommend it as it has outstanding natural beauty and mountains galore. We are off to West Wales next time, there were lessons learnt and we are work in progress campers but happy campers 🙂

Until next time!!!