View Full Version : Trying out using just three paints.

parfait amour
05-12-2013, 08:00 PM
Hello peeps ! :wave:

Well I felt my head spinning after reading the first few pages of Quiller's Color Choices, and wanted to try to limit my palette. After a few weeks, I am haphazardly buying paints, and have not been listening to basics, so I need to correct that. I was never a good student in terms of doing as I'm told :angel:

I picked Aliz Crim (the non-perm one, I have since ordered the perm W&N one after reading about the fading on here), cobalt blue and Cad yellow. They're all cheapie Cotman ones, and the picture is only on a 99p sketchbook at present. I have watercolour paper, and will try the next step on that.

This was my ref. picture, a vintage photo I found on tumblr.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v205/bunwun/about%20me/tumblr_ml7lhqkbh81rrjjv0o1_400.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bunwun/media/about%20me/tumblr_ml7lhqkbh81rrjjv0o1_400.jpg.html)

I drew a bit, then added the first wash.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v205/bunwun/about%20me/004.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bunwun/media/about%20me/004.jpg.html)

Added the red. This is a bit migraine inducing.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v205/bunwun/about%20me/006.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bunwun/media/about%20me/006.jpg.html)

The bottom of the picture has the colours dabbed on. That's because I always find myself drawing up on the page and leaving a space so I decided to make use of it.

Adding the blue and making a few areas greater in saturation.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v205/bunwun/about%20me/010-1.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bunwun/media/about%20me/010-1.jpg.html)

05-13-2013, 12:41 AM
Very nice! I did something similar with a black gearshift knob and three primaries recently, quite the learning experience isn't it?

I like how lively and playful your colors are, especially in the hair.

05-13-2013, 04:23 AM
I really like your finished painting. One of the best way to learn your paints and how to paint is to use just the three primaries. It looks like you did your mixing mostly by layering which gave you some interesting results.

Next time you might want to try and make one of the colors prominent. For example: If red is prominent, mix red with the yellow for your flesh color. Mix a thick red with a small amount of blue and yellow to get a brown for the hair, etc. You will be surprised how many varieties of color you can get.

I also do this exercise using 2 warm colors and a cool or 2 cool colors and a warm.

parfait amour
05-13-2013, 05:16 AM
Thank you both.

I will try this again on proper WC paper, and try those ideas.

05-15-2013, 11:41 AM
I like what you've done with your three primary tones. It is a fun exercise for sure and you've done well.

You might want to check out the class we had a while ago called Exploring Harmonious Triads (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=581273) to see how much fun you can have with different triads of colors. Check out the Homework Thread while you are at it too. ;)


05-15-2013, 04:20 PM
This is an awesome training tool for beginners too!

05-15-2013, 08:49 PM
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

05-16-2013, 03:48 AM
Great! I recommend getting some nice paper to work on. I started on Canson paper and still primarily use it. It is cheap and actually works quite well!

Also, do you mix on your palette or only on the paper?

05-16-2013, 08:12 AM
I like it. Using just three paints can be limiting, or it can free you to try new things. This painting is clearly in the latter camp. I love the hair.

05-16-2013, 08:46 AM
I have a favorite primary palette that I learned about in a workshop long ago: premanent rose (W&N), Antwerp blue (W&N) and new gamboge (Daniel Smith). I can mix any color I need and never get mud. Here is an example of work I did with just these three colors:


M.L. Schaefer
05-16-2013, 02:54 PM
Besides just three colors, an invaluable tool is painting with only one color, you can experiment with color values to define form.

Here is one I practiced with: A Lion all in Raw Sienna, using the one color and white of the paper only. (The photo is a bit light. It has been gifted. But it gave me greater insight into building values and form.

:heart: Margarete


and a Rose in one shade of pink: