Its easy to get carried away with colour – when emerald, amethyst, indigo, scarlet, magenta, cobalt, sunflower yellow  lure you in!  And then you end up creating  either Mud… or a lot of  rainbow splashes going everywhere. However much fun this is, in order to achieve a more successful painting you have to force yourself to use less colours. I know its hard to do when those colours are so beautiful and so bright,    so ….. Tempting!

Near Jim Jim Falls NT
Near Jim Jim Falls NT

There is more power, more impact and more sensitivity when you drastically limit your palette. Monochromatic paintings can be absolutely stunning in their evocative qualities.  Perhaps if you chose to go this route, I’d suggest maybe indigo blue, or burnt sienna either would be great choices. Both have a lovely range of tonal values that you can create very subtle nuances of colour to the full maximum, deep dark tones.

Most of the time I generally will limit my colours to 3-4 and then do a bit of mixing within those to create whatever else I’d like. Very easy if I’m using my 3 core basic colours (cobalt pb28; permanent rose pv19; winsor lemon py175)

In the painting above,  “Near Jim Jim Falls, NT”   I used   Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Winsor Lemon.     Below,  “Like a River”  I simply used naples yellow with perylene green. I find that the fewer colours I use,  the better the final result is to my eye.

Like a River    debiriley.com
Like a River debiriley.com
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