The Tetrachrome Palette

After a trip to Cairns I began painting rainforest as well as swamp. The relentless green was a problem, and after painting “Swamp” in muted earths I could see a way forward.

Pavey’s book on Humanism and Colour tied together a whole knowledge of colour I had built up. And the light went on! The tetra chrome palette is RED ochre YELLOW ochre BLUE BLACK and WHITE. ¬†This is Aboriginal art, it is Ancient Greek pottery, it is Byzantine icons, it is the Academic palette. ¬† And its subtle when used colouristically,, it is strong when used structurally, and is deeply symbolically charged across a number of cultures. When used as a tonal scale, the strength of the colour, especially the red, can be disturbing, but it works. But as in other palettes, tints with white, or shades with black, allow ANY colour to “slot in” anywhere reqiured from light to dark. Arbitrary colour results, and there is poetry in that.
Most importantly to me, I have found a subject (forest) that has so many potential variations of tonal key, chroma key, use of scumble and glaze, scale and brushwork…….And into which I can integrate my little nudes. Finally “30 of these” seems a pleasant prospect.
As if this isnt challenge enough, I know now I must pursue Pat Moran’s delicious brushwork, working tonally and looser, creating focus with” lost and found” edges. And I suspect the confidence to tackle this has come from being involved in the Salisbury Atelier .