Traditional Palette Colours

I had to buy new gouache paints and, as always, I tried to stay close to the ‘Traditional Palette’ referring to the masters of Dutch Golden Age. Take Rembrandt, his original palette consisted of ochres, umbers, and siennas. Rembrandt used lead white, which for health reasons, is replaced with other whites, for instance titanium white.

The Dutch Golden Age palette is so famous; its warm earthy tones even inspired make-up artists.

Maria van Oosterwijck (1630-1693)

The Seven Colours of Maria Oosterwijck

Allow me to analyse the colours Maria van Oosterwijk shows on her palette. She holds seven pencils with beautiful tips, perfect for her exquisite and highly detailed floral still-lifes. From top to bottom, I say (disclaimer, I was not there): Lead White, Ochre, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Deep Red, Ultramarine Blue (green shade), and Deep Green. (Please, feel invited to upload your educated guess in the comment section; we can learn from each other).

SO FEW COLOURS!

One may feel puzzled how exquisite artwork is done with so few colours but the secret is simple: the art of mixing. Have a look, for instance, at the website of Natural Earth Paint and enjoy studying their mixing chart. Notice how a variety of colours can derive from 16 colours only!

With the advance of paint production came healthier paints but also fancier colours. Earth pigments were complemented with synthetic paints. Some colours still carry traditional names like Titan Golden Ochre, but others go by fancier names like Delfts Blue.

The traditional palette as I know it (in oil) consists of Burnt Sienna & Burnt Umbre, Cadmium Red & Cadmium Yellow Pale, Winsor Red Deep, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre Pale. Two greens: Permanent Green Deep & Terre Verte and two blues: Ultramarine (Green Shade) & Cobalt Blue and last, Titanium White & Ivory Black.

I never buy fancy colours with fancy names in our local art store whereas my neighbour, who loves to paint modern and abstract, finds it good fun to add newly developed colours to his palette. I ‘blame’ it on the echo of remarks made by my former teacher warning against wasting money on fancy colours, explaining how they can lead to vulgar results, easily leaving a dirty impression after mixing (only allowed to be mixed with white) and how they clash with classical colours. I understood what he said; ever since I have been religious with his advice.

Scroll up and study the Natural Earth and Mineral Pigment chart and notice how harmoniously these colours go together. Plus, there are more reasons for remaining loyal to a classical palette: one gets so familiar with the colours that mixing does not require consulting charts, and should you have to restore a part of your painting, it is easy to analyse which colours you have used. But most of all, avoid frivolity and vulgarity. There is no need for short cuts or buying harsh colours. I rest my case now but not before letting Maria van Oosterwijck’s art convince you.

Maria van Oosterwijck’s Floral Bouquet

Here you can download a handy list of traditional colours.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

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Postal Stamp Commission Postzegel Tekenopdracht

Printing your own postal stamps

Not all that is handy is nice. Take, for instance, digital postal stamps. Do you feel a bit nostalgic when you write 9 or 12 numbers on the top right corner of an envelope? I feel a bit like cheating on the art of philately.

DRESS -your stationary- TO IMPRESS

Dutch Post offers the possibility to order your own postal stamps. All you need is an image stored in your computer, upload it here, and Dutch Post turns it into an eye-catching stamp. Many countries offer this possibility. The stamps cost a few extra cents, but they are worth that.

Should you like to commission a postal stamp, there is no need to look further. I have experience with designing postal stamps. All I need to know is the required page orientation: landscape or portrait. Plus your favourite theme, perhaps an animal, a butterfly, or a flower?

The wonderful thing about a commission is that you might use the commissioned drawing also for a personalized bookplate.

Contact me freely to discuss your wishes.

  • Mandarin Duck Art Card Set

    They always come in handy, mandarin duck art cards. They are perfect for weddings, marriage anniversaries, engagements, Valentine’s Day, to reaffirm friendship, or to renew wedding vows, or just to express a bit of kindness to a wonderful friend. Look no further; they are here.


  • Traditional Palette Colours

    Paula Kuitenbrouwer write a short piece on the traditional palette colours and warns against buying unnecessary fancy colours.


  • Postal Stamp Commission Postzegel Tekenopdracht

    Ook zo’n hekel aan die lelijke digitale postzegelcodes? Paula Kuitenbrouwer helpt u aan een prachtige gepersionaliseerde postzegel. No more ugly digital postal stamps! Paula Kuitenbrouwer designs an inspiring personalized postage stamp for you.


SELF INQUIRY FOR AN ARTIST

Recent Mandarin Duck Gouache Paintings with Gold Leaf and Iridescent Paint

Who are the Killers and Midwives of your Art?

Upon visiting our local bookstore, my eye caught two titles. ‘The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness’ by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga. And The Beauty of Everyday Things’ by Soetsu Yanai. I did not need encouraging reviews to bring these books home. I hope the books will offer intellectual rigour that will influence me and my art.

With both in my backpack, I walked home musing over the question of what if I had lived, like Robinson Crusoe, on an island and there was nobody to admire or criticize my art, what would be my creative take on my life, on my small island, on my spiritual growth and so on. Or to put it slightly different, in a void of art appreciation and art criticism, what kind of artistic development would I experience? Is inspiration a divine energy or a genetic trait that keeps its steady flow despite having no social relevance? And with the book title ‘The Courage to Be Disliked’ in mind, if inspiration is independent of art appreciation is it also independent of being disliked?

I have a deep and unwavering dislike for ugliness, hate, and aggression. My art therefore always will be beautiful, meditative, calm and romantic because that is what flows out of me on my canvas. There is enough ugliness and hate, that it doesn’t need to receive more spotlight. (I need to make a disclaimer here for political art; artists have to paint the human predicament, thus also war, hell and death, think of Picasso’s Guernica).

Time for some self-inquiry. Keep the answers to yourself and enjoy possible new insights:


Who has stimulated your art? Who has tried to kill or belittle your art? Who are the killers and midwives of your art?

What art would you make being a Robinson Crusoe (miraculously having a free and fully stocked art store available but alas nobody to appreciate your art)?

What would be your L’art pour l’art (‘Art for the sake of art’).

A bit of musing can yield astounding results.

Success!

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

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