A Limited Palette on the Back Streets of Zurich

Did I mention my husband and I like to travel?   I’ve been going through our travel photos to find things to paint.  I love painting my Pyr dogs but I feel I have to try other things to learn more about oil painting.

I love color and if I could I’d use every single color in my paintbox on every painting.  But most painters do not use every color.  I decided to try a limited palette and as I hadn’t done any streetscapes yet, I used some photos from a vacation where we were walking the back artsy streets of Zurich.   The palette I used was one of blue, red, and yellow making green and pink etc from only those colors.  I also used white.  These are small 8 x 10 canvases so I still find I have a hard time fitting in the little details.

The other thing I am working on is more of a perception of depth in my paintings.  I recently found out about “Lost and Found Edges“.  If you make all your edges clear and hard it makes the painting look flat.  Some should be more vague and blend into the painting.  See the excellent blog post I linked in the text.  There is more to it than just the ones in the back should be blurry.  I haven’t mastered that yet, but I’m working on it.

So let’s start with a reference photo.  Again, I admit I’m not one of these hyper-realists that captures every detail like a photograph.

 I like the repeating element of the flags.  And now for my painting.

 And now for the other reference photo.

And now the other painting.



As the canvases were small, I had to leave out a lot of detail.  I did find the limited color palette had a soothing and harmonious result.   I do want to try these again with a larger canvas and try to capture more of the small details that I left out in these two paintings.