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Red-Yellow-Blue

Updated: Jun 9, 2021


Since I started to paint intensively again two years ago, I limit my work to the three primary colours red, yellow and blue. In addition, I only use white to lighten the colour tones. This restriction was not really a conscious decision, but rather a gradual one. Firstly, because I hadn't painted for so long, I had to buy most of my painting equipment from scratch. I knew from the past that mixing colours was no problem for me, so for cost reasons I first bought the basic colours. I soon realised that I could create paintings with very harmonious colours, which were less harsh because of the absence of black - I liked that.


Furthermore, I am rather chaotic. Even though I mix my colours on a big metal plate, I couldn't imagine how I could do it with tens of different colours in a reasonably orderly way. With three colours it's very easy: I press one portion each of red, yellow and blue as well as one portion of white onto my palette and then I'm ready to go. Over time, my palette fills up with smaller and larger patches of the most diverse colours, which I have mixed together from the three basic colours and white.


Since I have been using my tools and painting materials more spontaneously and playfully again, I occasionally use colour sprays in addition to brushes, paint rollers and my bare hand to set special accents. So far, however, I have used them very sparingly and I only have a few colours in my stash, such as Prussian blue, pink, lemon yellow, a dark brown-red and a very light blue.


Last year I also tried to make my paintings more multi-layered in terms of colour in the truest sense of the word. I use wider brushes of up to 150 mm, work partly on a wet and partly on a dry surface, partly with glazes and partly with paint in a thick and covering consistency. Especially with glazing layers, I often add wood ash to the paint to achieve a lively colour structure when flowing.


I have also changed the painting surface quite a bit in the last few months. In the beginning I painted on white primed smooth canvas. In the meantime I have also primed the canvas in various colours. The last paintings, however, I painted all on raw canvas, which I primed with black gesso before. The irregular structure of the raw linen promotes a lively colour structure of the overlying layers of paint and I find black very beautiful as a background from which to build up the actual painting colour step by step and in several layers.


Technically, I still want to try out a few things in the future. At the moment I paint exclusively with acrylic paint. It is often an advantage that it dries very quickly. But sometimes it could also be interesting to continue painting directly on a still wet layer. Oil paint would be much better for this because it dries much more slowly. Moreover, acrylic paint forms a matt surface when it is dry. However, from the past I also know the noble, silky sheen of the surface of an oil painting - I also like that very much.


What I haven't tried yet is to use oil pastels or similar in the same painting in addition to the paint I apply with a brush. This would certainly make a painting even more multi-layered and lively....

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