Lots of Colors

by Kari Veilleux

I have about 17 colors on my palette. I love impressionistic paintings and that is how I I like to paint. I know what many people expect to see in impressionistic paintings—beautiful colors, but no muddy or brown colors. My trick of avoiding mixing muddy colors is to mix each single color with less than 3 colors straight from the tubes. Even I found sometimes my rule of using no more than 3 colors can result in a muddy colors. I use analogous colors a lot to adjust the temperature or the value. I use complementary colors very carefully as they tend to cancel each other out and the grayed colors can be dull or just muddy. If I want to dull a bright orange, I would use green that has yellow and blue in it to tone it down. I would hesitate to use blue though. If I have to, I would use the complementary colors very sparingly.

I think the advantage of my palette is to allow me to become more of a colorist. I love colors. I started with a very small palette but I expanded it over these years. Your advice on three colors plus white is sound. That was how I got trained by a professor in college before. I have greatly benefited from it since then. Now I feel more confident with my larger palette after having learned to mix with only a few colors.

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