Painting with a Limited Palette

Live from San Diego, California

Today we have more pigments to choose from than any other artist in history. However, with just three primary colors, plus white, you can create the entire rainbow of colors and the full value scale.

Join VAWAA guest artist and landscape painter Kevin Inman on Saturday February 5th at 2PM ET, for a special online session on how to paint with a limited palette. 

This approach has many benefits. First, it is less frustrating. Working with bare essentials gives greater control to develop coherent, harmonious, and personal paintings. Secondly, it is compact so you're all set for a lightweight travel paint box — for plein air or quick sketches on the go. 

In this session, we'll work from still life. Kevin will walk you through color mixing and demonstrate this expansive approach. Then, we will have time to work on our own painting, share and discuss.

All levels are welcome. There will be plenty of time to share, get feedback and meet other participants from around the world.

If you are not in EST time zone, be sure to convert the time.


What you'll need

You can choose oil or acrylic paints.

If you are choosing Oil Paints

Muted Oil Palette:

  • Ivory Black (Rembrandt preferred)
  • Cadmium Red Medium
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Titanium White (PW 6, avoid titanium-zinc mixtures)

Vibrant Oil Palette:

  • Cerulean Blue Hue or Ultramarine Blue
  • Alizarin Crimson Permanent (PR 177)
  • Cadmium Yellow MediumTitanium White (PW 6, avoid titanium-zinc mixtures)
  • Ivory Black (optional) 

Additional materials for oil painting: 

  • Solvent: Gamsol or turpenoid. For solvent-free painting: Gamblin solvent free gel or Gamblin solvent free liquid OR linseed oil
  • Cup or jar for solvent
  • Paper towels
  • Palette or paper palette pad
  • Brushes: A range of brushes from size 2 on up (preferable hog bristle flats and filberts).
  • Supports: 8 x 10 inch or larger canvas pad, Arches oil paper pad, or canvas board

If you are choosing Acrylic Paints

Acrylic Palette: (Golden fluid acrylics preferred)

  • Primary Cyan
  • Primary Magenta
  • Primary Yellow
  • Bone Black
  • Titanium white

Additional materials for acrylic painting: 

  • Cup or jar for water
  • Paper towels, 
  • Palette or paper palette pad or paper plate
  • Brushes: A range of brushes from size 2 on up (recommended – hog bristle flats and filberts)
  • Supports: 8 x 10 inch or larger canvas pad, watercolor paper, or canvas board


How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA Online on Zoom. We'll send the link and details to join via email 1 day and again 1 hour before it begins.


About Kevin

Kevin Inman is a San Diego artist, focusing on landscape and cityscape oil paintings. He wasn't always a landscape painter, but he's always been a traveler interested in the world around him. He believes the power of a painting always comes through the visual. One has to get behind it and push, to suggest meaning to a viewer. He says "As a landscape painter, you are really asking people to think about the world around them. It might be about an escape to somewhere beautiful- the cliffs in La Jolla. We all need that. Or it might be a serious subject that worries you- climate change or income inequality as reflected in the landscape. If you can transport people, if you can make people feel and think, that’s a successful painting."



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