Limitations

I always had limitations, given by instructors or by myself.  One of them was for colors. My first teacher in watercolor made us work with a limited palette, 2 yellows, 2 blues, 2 reds, black was permitted, white of course a major no no.  A very good training for the eye and the hand. For years, I used the same palette and was very content with it and still use it like in the above watercolor.

Working with the digital tools, made me realize that it is fun to have at the tip of your finger almost any color. It is fun not to be so limited, it is fun to go over limitations.

Back in the real world, the limitations are obvious, the first one being budget. But having had a taste at opulence I try anything now that will give me more color, mix medium, unusual medium, what ever.

Inspired by comments left by Rick from 19 planets on this post.

Des limites, j’en ai toujours eu, imposées par des professeurs ou que je m’imposais. Une de ces limites était pour la couleur. Dans mon premier cours d’aquarelle on devait utiliser une palette restreinte, 2 jaunes, 2 bleus, 2 rouges, noir toléré et blanc absolument interdit. Un bon entraînement pour l’œil et la main. Pendant des années j’ai utilisé avec plaisir cette même palette et je l’utilise encore comme dans l’aquarelle ci-haut.

En travaillant digitalement, j’ai au bout du doigt n’importe quelle couleur, instantanément , et c’est bon.  Bon de ne pas être limité, bon d’aller au- delà des limites.

Les limites reviennent vite dans le monde réel, la première étant monétaire, mais ayant goûté a l’opulence, maintenant je n’hésites plus a utiliser ce qui me donnera la bonne couleur, médium diffèrent, inhabituel, peut importe.

En réponse a un commentaire de Rick de 19 planets laissé sur ce post.

13 thoughts on “Limitations

  1. bwahahahahaha – aloha Benedi – i have to say – yeah, wow. i like this watercolor.

    yeah, i think you make a lot of sense too, regarding this way in which we can explore digital technology. any color. and yeah, two (#2) – that does have (has had) an effect on my real paper world color. altho may be in slightly different ways – altho also in – try it all ways too.

    one of the other ways: like you, i came to the idea of 6 or 7 base-palette colors. altho i dont remember that in classes so much, but i’ll bet the idea originated in them some place ( however my base-palette below is not the required colors of my watercolor classes). i came to the idea of a warm and a cool – or both ends of the primary colors for my base – plus a green. altho i’ve expanded that, i still fall back on that base a lot.

    i should say that i also looked at permanency in my colors too – or i tried to take that into consideration as much as possible as well.

    what digital technology has done is shown me that there are a lot of nuances that i can get with those 6 + 1 base colors (and any other pigments i add to that mix too). so i explore a range of pigment to water ratios – from extremely thin washes (which is more typical i think with watercolor) to some very heavy pigment laden stuff too, which isnt as common, but has become more accepted. and both palette mixing and layer mixing. …and just about anything else that occurs to me as well.

    heck. what digital technology has also shown me, is that it’s just plain fun to explore – even exploration within limitations is fun – which can produce spectacular results as with your work above (imo) – couple that with another goal (sometimes at least) other than just exploration – and wow – i think there is a life time of possibilities in this set up. …it’s just up to us to do it.

    so… the original 6 plus 1 colors i settled on had some thought for transparency – as it was watercolor. but i’ve gotten to like some of the more semi-transparent and even some of the more opaque watercolors too for a variety of reasons including removal and granulation qualities as well as aggressive and passive qualities among other things. and even white (which to me simply makes it more like gouache when added to transparent watercolor – without having to buy another set of tubes).

    my original base tubes were something like:
    yellow:
    indian yellow – (warm)
    cadmium lemon – (cool)

    blue:
    french ultramarine blue – (warm)
    phthalo blue (or Winsor blue before there was red shade and green shade) – (cool)

    red:
    Winsor red – (warm)
    alizarin crimson (before i learned about the thin wash fugitive issue and then went to Permanent Alizarin Crimson) – (cool)

    and green:
    Winsor green (or phthalo green) – (cool)

    i figured those would give me a lot of transparency possibilities and other options for brightness (i can even get a great black with winsor red and winsor green). i do have a good number of other pigments and i add them into the mix and variation often enough now too, but i still go back to that base palette a lot.

    just so you know, i am curious about your base palette – but i’d understand if you didnt want to post it.

    cool on your post. and thanks for the link in. have more fun, yes. aloha.

  2. Hi Rick,
    secret palette? No, I would tell you with pleasure exactly what it is but I am not really organized.
    When I get my palette done I squeeze the whole tube of paint on it and therefore do not remember all the names, not having the tubes anymore, but it is similar to your choices. A warm and a cold of primary colours, I remember having alizarin crimson and ultramarine.
    When I am out, I usually look at the chart in the store and choose like that.
    I do look also if it is transparent or opaque, and for opaque I like gouache, with for the base palette the same idea of 1 cold and 1 warm of primary colours, plus white and black. I like also inks, waterproof and non-waterproof.
    I tried acrylic but was never really satisfied with the results, and do not like the smell.
    I like water base colours for the ease of use, ease of cleaning, and no smell.
    Thank you for all the details of your color choices.

    • hahaha – aloha Benedi – yeah. i learned (that i should – and often did at one time) write the materials i use on the backs of my paintings. …a very good practice to keep. so after each work, i’d list the colors and dates and even sizes and other things there. one of the benefits was that i got to know the pigment names really well and could often spot them in work. that got really tedious after a while – especially with ATCs. …i’m hesitant to admit i dont do that so much now.

      i also learned to place my dabs from the tubes in the same placement around my palette each time i added more pigment to the palette. now i use a dish for each color – but i keep the dishes in the same order so i know exactly where a color is when i want to use it. for a while, so i’d know, i labeled the areas on my palette with the name of the pigment so i’d know i got the pigment in the the right place. that helped with names too.

      i tried gouache some, but decided because i’d already gotten into acrylics and transparent watercolor that i’d focus more on those – altho i did experiment with gouache and other painting mediums and materials too. oil for me is the one i opted out of because of the smells. i knew (i was reasonably sure at least) that i’d always want my studio to be where i lived. and i didnt think i wanted the smells of oil and accompanying accessories all through that space. not to mention… at that time… my painting practices often as not could lead to (oil) pigment migration throughout the living space too.

      acrylic to me doesnt have a lot of smell. i often use it in ways similar to transparent watercolor – but also as opaque paint too. there are some things i find easier to do with acrylic than with T. watercolor – altho the opposite is also true. so i like both for different reasons altho i have chosen along the same lines for my colors in acrylic as i did with T. watercolor.

      one thing i like about your method of restocking your tubes is that as you discover new colors, your base palette might shift over time. which can happen to me, but then i restock my original colors too.

      like you again i like both permanent water soluble ink and water proof ink. altho now i most often use the permanent water soluble ink.

      and yeah, water based materials are easier (imo too) in many ways and not quite as hard on the environment (both my living and working space AND the greater planet too – imo). so i’m okay not using oil. …and there are extender mediums that will slow drying time down with acrylic – if i want that quality for some reason. so i’m fine with acrylic (as well as T. Watercolors) as my main painting mediums – but i will explore other things at any time if it appeals to me.

      you are welcome. and yeah, thank you too, i appreciate our dialogue on these things. aloha

  3. Very dreamy and fairy talesque. I love your commentary Ben and I think Rick has the top score for longest comment ever – haha – personally I love a good comment conversation and you visual artists have some good ones. I was looking at camera lens the other day on the internet, and I tell you the prices of some of the long distance lens would put a big limitation on most people ($15,000 for one!).

    • money, money, money…brings everyone very fast in “l’art du possible”. I do not have a good translation but you get it I am sure.
      Rick explains very well and in detail, something more difficult to do for me. These conversations help me to put in word what I do.
      thank you Gabrielle.

  4. oh. – i didnt mean at all that gouache was any less special than watercolor or acrylic – or even oil – i apologize if i gave you that idea Benedi.

    i remember Jean Dubuffet gouache works that made me want to explore that medium because of the beauty of his work in it. …and others too. no doubt about it, it’s a great medium. yes, i do understand that gouache has it’s unique qualities that make it special and different from other painting mediums.

    what i was trying to say was that for me at that time, i was spreading myself too thin trying to go into depth in too many areas – it all fascinated me (it still does). not having the money, was one of the main reasons i didnt go into gouache – or rather, needing the money i had, for other areas – and time. now, it’s still as much a money and time issue as anything else. there are just way too many things i’d like to do.

    yeah, i have no doubt that the professional grade gouache would be terrific to work with and way fun to explore. i have seen work in gouache that stuns me just as much as an excellent watercolor, acrylic or oil painting. there are a number of other painting mediums i find fascinating as well.

    i had not seen that Gouache Blog, thank you – it’s beautiful.

    yeah, i find it hard to keep up with writing my materials etc. down too. it is a good practice to get into, but at this point… i direct working time is important to me too. i keep loose notes on some of this stuff – sometimes, but i’m not as methodical as i once was at all.

    oh – also – i like the process you described in how your work here (above) came about – what you saw that triggered the idea(s) and how what you did on paper evolved so that you began to respond to that. i like that way of working (probably because i can see myself working in similar ways) – fun. bwahahahahahaha – and you know i see fun as good. – fun on these conversations too – aloha

    • Thank you Jean-Paul for this beautiful haiku.
      J’aime beaucoup le graphique de votre gravatar. On dirait la main d’Adam allant vers la main de Dieu de MichelAnge re-interprété par Matisse.

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