Prussian Blue and the Art of Being Impulsive

“Frozen Zoo” by Michele Bledsoe


I have a very distinct palette…

a range of colors that I use

every time I paint.

Raw umber

Chromium Oxide Green

Cobalt Blue

Turner’s Yellow

Red Oxide

Raw Sienna..

to name a few.

I know these colors intimately;

How they react to each other..

all their moods

and subtleties..

I know them like I know

the landscape of my own heart.


But, when I started work on my painting Frozen Zoo

I did something outrageously impulsive

and decided to use a new color.

Not just a little taste of it..

not just dipping my toe in the water..

Instead, I stared at that strange tube of paint in front of me

and decided to cover a huge portion of my canvas with it.


That was my introduction to Prussian Blue.

A tremendous leap of artistic faith..

it was an epic struggle

to incorporate this alien color into my familiar palette.

It did weird things

when I mixed it with raw umber.

Is that a hint of green I see?


I never realized that blue could be so warm.

Flailing about and lost in unfamiliar territory

I refused to back down.


By the time the painting was completed

Prussian Blue was like an old friend..

battle tested and true,

it is a welcome addition

to my comfortable palette.


There is no place for cowardice in art.




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