I have recently discovered something when it comes to paints and pigments and the colors that artists insist are needed. I was always told to avoid black, always use yellow ocher, and burnt sienna, and burnt umber was optional as it was a dead color. I didn’t question, and why would I? Far better artists than I use these colors, so I went with the flow.
A few months back, as I was experimenting with limited palettes at my Friday morning portrait group, I discovered using only bright colors, without any earth tones, and I was surprised to find I could mix all sorts of browns and grays and actually achieve much more vibrant colors. The palette is as follows: White, yellow medium, cad orange, quin magenta (or alizarin), prussian blue, cerulean, viridian, chrome oxide. I call it the “skittles palette”. For browns, I mix orange and prussian blue, the color is very rich and I can push it warmer red or darker blue to almost black if I add magenta. For this painting I brushed it all in very loosely and finished it in 3-4 sittings. I liked how this turned out and will continue on with this color palette for a while.