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A Limited Palette by Alison Hargreaves

Most often, in my classes, I use a limited palette (usually versions of the three primary colours) as I believe that this simplifies the painting for my students, and generally helps a painting become more pleasing on the eye. I often choose three primary colours….although not perhaps the classic ones we immediately think of!

For this lesson I used:

I gave everyone a photo of a castle in France to work from


  1. Drew the castle and the rocks with a permanent fine tip pen
  2. Splattered the sky area with a mix of Prussian Blue, Intense Violet and water.
  3. “Joined the dots,” so to speak, to paint the sky and clouds
  4. Mixed the Intense Violet and Quinacridone Magenta with the Aureolin to make the shadows on the side of the castle, the rooves, and the rocks
  5. Mixed Aureolin and Prussian Blue to make the varying greens for the foliage
  6. Focused on painting the castle at the top of the rock with the most colour
  7. Left plenty of white towards the bottom of the painting so creating a less busy area
  8. Added some splatters of each colour to add some texture

Please note…just using Aureolin and Intense Violet can produce an excellent painting with a wide range of tones and a pleasing finish.


I teach regular classes and all day workshops in Poynton, Cheshire and demonstrate for Art groups.