The last time I posted pear paintings on the blog I had a couple emails from people asking me about my palette and what colors I use. It's hard to say after the fact because I don't have more than 5-6 favorites and I am constantly adding different ones to make mixes more interesting. But there are certain colors that are just "standard" for me. I mean I can always depend on them and they are always in my paint box even if I don't use them.
Those colors are cad yellow light, cadmium scarlet or cadmium red light, yellow ocher, ultramarine blue and alizarin permanent or rose madder. (Notice there is only one earth color on that list and I don't really need it because I could mix it- it;s more of a convenience color.) Many times I will substitute a different color for one of these just to experiment because after all an artist can never have too much paint or experiment with color too much. That's what makes it more interesting for me and keeps me engaged.
Green pears are easier to paint than the brown ones (Bosc) that I love to snack on. I'm not sure why this is so, but it's true. Every pear is individual as well: the one on the left seemed a bit more green and the one on the right had a bit of red in it. Closely observing the differences and playing with those characteristics is what really makes the painting beautiful. I allowed myself an hour to do this piece this morning. The background is a piece of fabric I picked up at a sale somewhere. I love the earthy tones and abstract shapes in it. In this instance I immediately saw the shapes echoed the pear stems so I played that up a bit.
I've included a picture of my limited palette, which included mars black, yellow ocher, cadmium orange, cadmium yellow lemon, raw sienna, cadmium scarlet and viridian. As you can see it's possible to get a full range of color from just a few paints, and the color harmony is definitely nicer looking.