Painting with a limited pallette of four colors


Today’s blogging prompt was all about the number four. I guess because it’s the fourth of the month. So the creative project that I am demonstrating today had to be something that involved the number four. How was I to do that?

How about if I used just four different colors of paint for the glass jars that I chose to paint? I wanted to paint something similar to a glass that I had painted during a Relay for Life several years ago. I chose to use colors with that in mind. With the four color paints that I chose, I could use them as is, or I could mix them. The colors that I chose were green, red, yellow, and orange. Mostly warm colors. 

Selecting a small grouping of three or four paints is called a limited pallette. It is an artistic technique that many artists like to use. One of the most famous artists to employ the limited pallette was Claude Monet. At first, he used a wide variety of paints, but, by 1860, he stopped using darker paints, such as browns and blacks. By 1905, his pallette consisted of white lead, cadmium yellow, vemillion, madder, cobalt blue, and chrome green. By combining and mixing paints, Monet was able to get the vivid colors that are what impressionistic painting is all about. To get the impression of black, Monet combined three colors: blue, green, and red. His use of the limited pallette was really effective, and his paintings were vibrantly colorful, even in his later years when he suffered from cataracts and other visual problems.

Like Monet, I love color but I have the problem of overdoing it at times. The limited pallette appeals to me because it reduces the risk of overworking the painting. Also, limited pallettes create a nice sense of harmony within the painting and it’s a fast way to paint. 

So… the glass jars. I used old spice jars and a jar that had contained a sweet and sour sauce and a bottle that formerly held cooking wine. The biggest job in this whole process is to wash off the paper labels from the jars. I had done that a while ago. 

Because I was painting on glass, sketching out my picture with a pencil was not going to be an option. I had to draw with the paintbrush. I started by drawing the petals of the flowers. First I tried using a glass paint that I had bought about a year ago, but I found that I didn’t get much color. So I switched to craft paint. I don’t know if I will be able to wash these jars. Fortunately, I’m not planning on drinking out of them. 

The first thing that I painted were the petals, followed by the leaves. Sometimes, I let the paint dry before adding another layer.

Other times, I wanted the paints to mix on the surface so I painted wet into wet.

I also added some stylized stems to add to the fun of the painting. 

The jars were definitely fun to paint. If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids, you might want to paint glass jars.

One suggestion for a fun activity would be to paint old wine bottles or other bottles with hearts or anything else that says Valentine’s Day.

When you’re done, you could place a single flower and some baby’s breath in the jar and ta-da! You have a lovely hand made Valentine!

Have fun and create happiness!

5 thoughts on “Painting with a limited pallette of four colors”

  1. I love your painted jars! What a great idea about painting hearts in a bottle for Valentine's day. This will be a perfect project for Lia to make for her mommy!

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