An artist deciding their color palette is a very personal process. The color one uses is specific to their subject and what they want to convey with their finished product. I learned color theory with Gouache (which is a type of water medium) and I really felt I had a strong grasp on it. Moving to oil (my preferred medium) I started with a limited palette of black and white. Then added Yellow Ochre and Terra Rosa to incorporate warm and cool. After that it was really up to us to decide what we wanted to integrate into our expanded palettes. Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red and Yellow, Viridian Green to name a few. We were also encouraged to make our own blacks-- as black from the tube can take the vibrancy out of a painting rather quickly. For whatever reason I didn't really experiment with all the fancy tubes of different colors. They are expensive and I didn't really want to spend upwards for $20 on something I had no idea how to use. It all came back to the color wheel and primary colors being RED, YELLOW, and BLUE. "With those three colors you can make anything." Except not really. Except there are no tubes of oil paint called RED, YELLOW, and BLUE. I kept seeing colors in landscapes that I was painting or still life setups that I just couldn't mix. My colors got muddy. The purple was a bit gray or maybe too vibrant. Oranges weren't true enough. It's something that I had just kind of gotten used to until I had this incredible revelation with the help of this article. If printers can make all the colors of the rainbow with Cyan, Magenta and Yellow why is the color wheel set up the way it is? I went out to my local art supply store and bought Phthalo Turquoise, Permanent Rose, and Hansa Yellow Medium; three colors that I had not previously played with. Let me tell you what a weird feeling it was to mix Permanent Rose and Hansa Yellow and make Red. I mixed a true 'primary' red! I was able to mix the perfect 'primary' blue as well using Permanent Rose and Phthalo Turquoise. This was my first little experiment with this color palette. The best part is that I didn't use black or burn umber. Just CYM and white. As you can see I got a great range of purples and blues and greens. I was able to control the saturation by adding compliments. Such a fun experience. I can't wait to create something a bit more planned.
Do you paint with these colors already? Have I just been living under a rock?