Can’t live without… - Jan Thomson
Well, that’s not quite true, but if I had to choose just two pigments to take to my desert island they would be Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. With these two I can make warm and cool greys, soft underpaintings and juicy darks as well as the clear bright clear colours that they are when used solo.
For this little sketch I used Maimeri Blu Oltremare Chiaro and Terra Di Siena Bruciata (don’t they sound good in Italian?). These two colours are my essentials in any brand, so it’s good to compare Maimeri with the others I’m more familiar with.
I started with a soft pale wash of ultramarine blue at the top running down to burnt sienna at the bottom. I could have painted the sky grey with a mixture of both - lovely for atmospheric, misty days.
Once that wash was dry I came back in with a thicker mix of the two colours – they make a luscious black as between them they contain the three primaries, red, yellow and blue, which will always make a neutral. You can cool the black/grey by adding more blue, or warm it by adding more burnt sienna. Remember that to make a dark tone you must be careful not to add too much water- which acts like white paint! So think dark and thick.
When I begin a painting I’m always considering how I will make my darks (I don’t use black) and I need to be able to repeat the colours in my mix elsewhere in the painting.
Using a very limited palette such as this will make for strong, harmonious work.
The Maimeri pigments are nice to work with and will granulate happily on a rougher paper (this was Canson Heritage Cold Pressed). They work together nicely to make neutral mixtures.
Try painting with a limited palette – you might be surprised by what you can achieve!