Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth
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THE ONLY RED YOU’LL EVER NEED
In my workshops I teach what I call the (Un)limited palette. I call it that because, while it is a limited palette, a palette limited to just three colors, plus white when working in oils or acrylics, there a lot of limited palettes. The problem with most of those, however, is that they are not only limited in the number of pigments used, they are also limited in the range of colors that can be mixed using them. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that if your values are right, your colors will matter little. But the point is, if you can have a full range of colors at your disposal, a wider range, in fact, than if you have a wide selection of pigments. I spent a couple of years experimenting with all the various basic pigments I could find. I tried every red, every blue, and every yellow I could find. Then, when I finally narrowed it down to the final three, I spent the next twenty plus years proving that I could make any color I needed with those three. I have yet to feel at all restricted in the number of colors available to me.
You don’t need to take one of my workshops to learn what it took me so long to learn. You can get it here, right now, for free. Here are the three colors I use in all my paintings, whether oil, watercolor, or acrylic. I use Thalo Blue. This was a difficult one for me to arrive at. I had used Thalo occasionally, and, as it is a very strong dye, I found it overwhelmingly powerful and uncontrollable. It was the last blue I tried. And with many yellows and reds, it was, indeed, disastrous. But bear with me.
First, let me say that I use Cadmium Yellow. sometimes light, sometimes medium, sometimes straight. It doesn’t really matter as yellow is the least troublesome of the three, as it is the most readily altered by minute amounts of the other two, and even by white.
The key, I finally found, was the red. It goes by many names. Different manufacturers of paint apply their own names to it, but it is Napthol PR112. There are other Napthol reds, but the only one that works for doing this is Napthol PR112. M. Graham, the company I buy all my pigments from, and recommend highly, (No, they don’t pay me, but they do furnish the paint for my workshops) calls theirs Napthol Red. But you must always look at the fine print on the label and be sure you’re getting the right one. I know, I know, must is a mighty big word. What I mean is that if you want to make this palette work, this is the only red that will do the trick.
I hope you will give this palette a fair trial. It can save you an awful lot of time and trouble. I know, because I went to the trouble and took the time to arrive at this wonderfully simple method that will open the entire world of color and put it at your disposal.
I paint using walnut oil (alkyd) medium, which is completely solvent free, and, because I prefer fast drying paints, Titanium White (alkyd formulation), both also from M. Graham.
For more information, visit http://johnfarnsworth.com/tubac%202011%20workshop.html
THE SHOPKEEPER AND THE BOTERO Daily Photograph #1,637
THE SHOPKEEPER AND THE BOTERO
This shop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, was a favorite of Thea’s and mine when we visited there in 2002. In fact, we bought the antique light fixture for our Taos house from this man. I regret that I don’t remember the name of his shop. I don’t know if it’s even still there, but if you can find it, and you like an eclectic mix of treasures ranging from antique pedal cars to fine jewelry, you will be in for a real treat.
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