Each of my primaries and secondaries, tinted out with white.
My limited palette "Brights" Chart.
My limited palette "Neutrals" Chart
NOTE: This post has been updated and expanded. Follow these links for more!
THE BRIGHTS color chart
THE NEUTRALS color chart
A few posts back, I mentioned making color charts from your colors. As you know by now, I use a limited palette of only three colors plus white. I made a few color charts to show you just how much color you can get out of these four little tubes. This is only scratching the surface.
My challenge to you, is to take each of your colors on YOUR palette, and slightly "bend it" (the color should still be called green as its description) with each of the other colors on your palette, then tint each a couple of steps with white. So, if I started with my green (remember, this is mixed with my cad yellow and ult marine mixed to make the secondary), and bent it with each of the colors on my palette, then made two tints of each of those neutralized greens, look how many greens I would be able to make!
Next, take each color and make a continuum (Dawn Whitelaw taught me this). For example, if you are dealing with yellow and violet, start with pure violet on one end and pure yellow on the other and mix 8-10 steps in between. You'll find all sorts of olives in there.
Finally, mix all the contaminated color from your mixing area, and make a nice, neutral gray. You may need to add a touch of white to get it to a mid-value. Mix a touch of this neutral with each of the colors on your palette. Tint each out with a little white. Again, if I did this with my green, I would have, at this point in the exercise, no less than 44 different greens--maybe more depending on how many times I tint each of these or bend them again.
The first chart shown is simply my limited palette with each color tinted out to white.
The second chart shown is what I refer to as the "brights." These are colors that have been slightly neutralized with every other color on the palette, then tinted out with white.
The third chart is where I live most of the time. These are colorful neutrals made by using "mud" from my palette and bending the mud to varying degrees.
Although these charts probably do not look as accurate on the computer as they do in person, take a look at the neutrals. Can you find your earth tones in there? I see yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt umber, and so on. Take a look at the brights. I see cerulean blue and naples yellow for sure.
"You don't just say green. How dark is that green? You don't just say yellow. How light is that yellow?" Everett Raymond Kinstler.