|"Yellow Day with Lupines," 6x8, oil|
When I'm done painting, I always end up with a good deal of contaminated paint on the palette. This contaminated paint, if used in color mixtures, will give unpredictable results. For example, sometimes I'll notice my white has little bits of all kinds of colors in it. If I'm trying to make a light, clean violet by adding alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue to it, those specks of yellow will certainly muddy things up. But, who wants to waste paint? So, I scrape it up into a pile, blend it with a knife — and I'm often amazed at the beautiful color this "mud" makes!
It's so beautiful, I often use it in the next painting.
The painting above was made with my leftover paint. I wish I had taken a photo of the color, but it was a subtle, yellow-green. A little went into all my mixtures. You can see a purer version of it, mixed with white, in the lightest passages in the sky.
The color was appropriate for the day. Although we're having torrential rain at the moment, last week we had a few of those hazy, bright days that make us think of deep summer. The air is filled with a golden light. I wanted to capture that sense of light in this small piece.
By the way, I don't recommend using leftover paint if you mix any medium into it. The medium will change the character of the paint. This is especially true if you use an alkyd medium; the paint will have "cured" too much in just a few hours to be useful.