Testing new palettes on a wintry day.

It’s time once again to share a page from one of my oh so many sketchbooks. This one in particular is used for swatching colours and trying out new palettes.

In past posts, I have shown my repurposed library book that is used as a sketchbook, as well as a travel book in which I have painted a mermaid.

I have sketchbooks for watercolours, for graphite, for doodles...and you might ask, why so many sketchbooks...well, that is a topic for another post!

Colour swatches save time

I swatch colours now for most of my art work, and especially for colours that are more difficult to create. This is useful as a reference for future paintings whether they are portraits, or florals, or landscapes. I must improve my notes. I am in such a rush to paint that I am not very patient with notes.

For instance, I recently tested colours for the inside of cats’ ears, and their little nose. I jotted colour mixes so that I know which paints I prefer to achieve just the perfect pinks and purples. I have painted many pet noses and ears and have been frustrated trying to find that exact colour each time. No more!  I now have at least one, multi-purpose colour to get started for the next pet portrait.

In this sketchbook entry, I mixed three colours as you see below and added Titan Buff to dull the colours. After all, we are in the middle of winter and although I am looking forward to breaking out the wild summery colours, I wanted to test pastels.

Three primary colours
A perfect motto for me! Stop Dreaming, Start Doing!

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly enamoured with the colours I mixed, but the real beauty of this system, is that since all the mixes derive from the same three basic colours, they all work together.

In the long run, this makes it so much easier than using colours from the tube.

I played with the colours on a piece of watercolour paper leaving the centre open for oil pastels.  A Victorian woman would be in the middle of flowers, maybe holding a basket of freshly cut roses.

Palette sketchbook entry
A page from my palette testing sketchbook. Muted colours.


Accepting imperfections

The Victorian woman morphed into a pensive or apprehensive? bride.

Next, I tried to perfect the details of the face with the rather stubby pastels I had. I smudged, I tried scraping away the pastel and adding acrylics, and still, I wasn't satisfied.

Then I realized I was defeating the purpose of being loose and playful.  So I stopped. The details really should be left to the imagination. I smudged the buttery soft Sennelier Portrait pastels, and then added more and was finally happy.

The blushing bride by Louise's ARTiculations
The blushing bride: mixed media on watercolour paper. Testing new palette, new techniques.

I wasn't looking for perfection as this was simply a test of sorts. The bride showed up: you get the idea of her in the middle of the flowers. The crayons prevented me from being overly obsessed with the details.

Within a few hours, I was ready to paste the little sketch on the page and write this post.

I still have more paint left in my wet palette box. The weather is perfect for staying indoors and experimenting a little more.

Cheers everyone!

(Header image by Sharon McCutcheon at unsplash)


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