I learned my color palette from a lineage of artists that traces its roots to Claude Monet.
It was a thrill to see his actual palette on display at the Musee Monet Marmottan in Paris. (I found out photos were not permitted AFTER I took this one. Luckily my camera was not confiscated, and none of the museum attendants caught me photographing ALL the paintings downstairs.)
I could see the familiar hues of yellow, red and blue -- though their names have changed over time. But what thrilled me was the mixtures they created. And what surprised me was the paint mixtures on the ages old palette seemed so untouched, uncleaned, and yet so fresh!
When I finish painting at the end of a day, I scrape my palette and save the pure colors and then I scrape up all the bits of color with a palette knife into new mixtures and save them for another day. Though I don't have anything particular in mind for them, I am always amazed at how the same limited number of colors I use can make so many different shades.
In today's batch alone, I came up with 7 different greens! When artists use the same consistent color paints, the finished painting has a color harmony.
So when people say to me, "I love your color!" it's because it all comes from the same colors.
I wonder if Monet kept his palette scrapings?
Northern California weather has been extraordinarily mild and dry this winter. I know this is not a good thing for our snowpack water supply, but it has given me the opportunity to get outside and paint.
I joined a "Meet-Up" group of plein air painters on the last Sunday of January in Sonoma County and had a great experience. The group loosely convened about 1 p.m.and wandered off in many directions. We gathered back together late in the afternoon and showed each other what we had accomplished.
Here's a photo of my finished painting "Marsh and Mountain" on the easel. You can see my pencil sketch up in the corner.
It's now ten days later, the paint is dry, the painting is framed and ready to be shown to prospective collectors at an event this weekend.