As my students know, I am a firm believer in working with a limited palette. I have found that working with fewer colors rather than more creates a more unified look and reduces the occurrence of mud and / or a garish end result.
The palette used in this painting as well as in about 90% of my work consists of the following 8 colors:
- Prussian blue
- Ultramarine blue
- Alizarin crimson
- Cadmium red light
- Yellow ochre
- Cadmium yellow light
- Titanium white
- Burnt umber or burnt sienna
That’s it. That’s all I need, regardless of subject or medium. I have less to buy and less to carry. In the event I am painting something that has a very strong color in it, such as flowers that are magenta or glass that is turquoise blue, I can always add a stronger color, but for the most part, I am able to work with the 8 colors listed above for the majority of subjects I paint.
If you have difficulty with color mixing, or get mud or garish colors, try the above approach. The fewer the colors you work with, the more harmonious the result.