In the Winter 2016 issue of Acrylic Artist we take a close look at one of our featured artist’s palette, and now our fascination with artists’ palettes continues, here, online. You can learn a lot about an artist from what their palette reveals—favorite colors and insights into his or her methodology (mixing paint, organizing colors and preserving viability of fast-drying acrylic paint) are just two aspects you’ll learn more about.
Here’s Will Harmuth’s palette; take a closer look. A quick glance reveals what appears to be a bit of chaos and a lot of color, and this is altogether fitting because Harmuth likes to paint quickly, finishing his paintings in one or two short sittings. His process is full of energy and instinctive style and color selection.
Harmuth works with both traditional artist paints and house paints. House paints aren’t intended to be mixed, a potential hindrance to other painters, but not Harmuth who keeps the mixing or blending of colors to a minimum. For the palette itself Harmuth uses food containers. When the lids and containers become heavy with dry paint, he simply peels it off and returns the containers to the stack of tops and bottoms.
When it comes to colors, Harmuth says, “I always keep the classic working palette, but I add different colors into the mix. I work color more from emotion than to have a particular color to use. The colors I use come from viewing the external and mixing with the internal senses.”
That One Must-Have Color
The color he cannot live without is gray. Harmuth says, “Gray is the foundation of my color structure. From the symphony of grays to the rich, intense colors straight from the tube, my paintings present some of the most stunning colors.”
Harmuth thinks that one color next to another color is what creates relationship, and that relationship is what we react to as a viewer. Harmuth, reminding us to look at the work of Hans Hofman (1880–1966), asks, “Do you see how he uses darks and grays and the intensity of direct color?”
Harmuth has a preference for using muted colors against direct color. “You must see color and you must feel color,” he explains. “It’s the emotional quality that adds to your visual voice as an artist. I’m inspired more by the moment than what is seen before me—it’s the emotion that speaks to me.”