Really fascinating look into the process of natural dyeing. As an artist who's interested in pigments and colors of the past, this really interested me. I think a big part of my desire to study color and the history of color is because of my own colorblindness (color deficiency). I always felt a need to try and conquer my colorblindness and maybe train my eyes to see color. Of course that's not how it works, but I love color regardless.
I had a revelation this morning about the colors on my oil painting palette. I always spend a lot of time thinking about which colors to use and which colors I actually need. It's really hard some times because it's easy to get influenced by your artistic heroes and think that if you use the same colors, then you'll paint like them. The truth is that you should use colors that you like.
Of course, the only way to figure out which colors you like is to test out a bunch and then figure out which ones work for you and which ones don't. I'm attaching a picture of my current palette below, which is combination of colors that work for me.
Always remember that you can tailor your palette for specific subjects. For instance, if I'm painting a landscape with a lot of greens and blues, then I'm not going to put out all my reds because I don't need them. You could argue that you could mix reds into your greens to neutralize them, but I don't mix color that way so I know I don't need them. And, if suddenly, a red bird lands in the scene, then I can just put a little bit of red on my palette.
What I've realized is that it's good to learn about what colors artists of the past have used and to test out those colors as a guide. But to progress as an artist, you'll need to think for yourself and see the world with your own eyes. You'll eventually realize that the colors you use don't actually matter that much. And if you've practiced enough, then you can make a great painting just using the most basic palette!
*Many of my readers may know this, but I'm colorblind so I've spent a lot of time studying color for this very reason. Also because of this, I set up my color palette in a unique way that works for me. I always encourage everyone to work in your own style and always experiment with color!
My materials list has evolved and I feel like now is a good time to document it. This post is more for my own documentation, but I also always love sharing knowledge. I'll go through my materials, color palette and medium one by one.
As a side note: my own color palette is based on Bouguereau's palette, but with my own additions which I feel are necessary. Also, never blindly follow someone else's technique or materials without thinking deeply about it yourself.
-White boar's hair bristle brushes (rounds and flats)
-Small synthetic watercolor brushes (for detail work and signature)
-Brush cleaner jar filled with Gamsol OMS (for brush cleaning)
-Wooden paint box
-Refined linseed oil (for oiling out)
1 oz. Dammar Varnish
1 oz. Stand Oil
5 oz. Gamsol
15-20 drops cobalt drier
-Winsor & Newton High Gloss Varnish (for final varnish, 1 layer)
-Gamsol + Masters brush cleaner for cleaning brushes
-Chrome Yellow Bright
-Chrome Yellow Deep
-Brown Red (or Venetian Red)
-Van Dyke Brown
*My palette is in this order mainly because I'm colorblind so I arrange it in order of color value.
Painting progress is never a linear movement forwards and I've recently decided to go back to an old technique, which I feel is a more sincere technique. Being colorblind, I structure my palette order in value, from light to dark, but my early technique also followed my 'disability'. I used to begin a painting in a tonal brunaille (tones of brown on white; as opposed to a grisaille which is black and white) which I did naturally. I know this is a technique known more commonly as dead coloring, but the point is that it's more conducive to natural state of being.
If you're interested in this technique, remember that the white tone is simply the canvas and you modulate the shade with only a burnt umber or other such brown. I'm going to go back to this and a modified palette which I used to use. I've changed other aspects of my technique, but they're so minor I need not write about them here.
My advice is to do some soul searching and find out what works for you.