So I've been having fun playing around with just using these 4 colors: Ivory Black, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow and Flake White. Essentially they are the three primaries. Ivory Black is blue, orange is my red and yellow is yellow- ha. I have been looking a lot at the Barbizon painters this month (Corot, Daubigny and Rousseau) and I was amazed at how effective their paintings were even without an array of color. Nowadays (hee hee), we have soooo many choices when it comes to color - and I love it. I mean I can't imagine a world without Sorolla's cobalt violet - BUT I think about all of the beautiful works that were created hundreds of years ago like DaVinci, Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Velasquez and Titian. In fact I think it was Titian that said all you needed was a red, black, yellow and white to paint. Also, if you look at some of Sorolla's early academy works the presence of all that fun bold color is not there. Of course I'm not poo pooing color, but I think there is something to be learned from their use of the limited colors they had - the subtlety and restraint, and also how strong their other skills had to be to carry the painting without the salivation of color. Sometimes, when we have so much readily available we can also lose something special.
I've always gone back to a limited palette from time time when I feel it's time to strengthen my skills again. I experimented with this particular combo on some of my sunrises. I wanted to try exploring this limited palette to see if I could get more harmony in my work. I feel as though it is taking me back to focusing on using temperature changes and how the more de-saturated tones help the saturated colors have stronger effect. I also think that it forces me to focus on other things that need improvement in my work, like composition, shapes and value...once I don't have the distraction of "color matching".
So here are some of the results and I hope you will give it a try as well! (If you use social media use the #blackandorangepainting so we can follow along).
I was really amazed how just Ivory Black + White looks so blue among all of the other orange and yellow tones....and vice versa. Here are a couple of examples:
The greens in this one were just made with Ivory Black & Cadmium Yellow
Again the colors that were achievable in this one amazed me too. I love how Cadmium Orange looks so pink with just a little bit of white and it looks purple with a little bit of black and white.
This one was done with a little bit different combo, I just substituted the cadmium orange with Burnt Sienna. The Sienna is transparent and does not look so cupcake pink as the orange. I loved the warmth and luminosity of this one.
On these two I substituted black with Burnt Umber + Cobalt Blue.