Susan Lichtman

Making something happen with a restriction of possibilities


A limited palette allows me to hold together a picture with a lot of disparate elements. My favorite card game is gin – and I think of a limited palette as being like a hand that one is dealt. The challenge is to make something happen with a restriction of possibilities.

I use three primary colors and white for each painting. The Red might be venetian or cadmium, the Blue might be a cobalt or ultramarine or black or even a green; and the Yellow might be yellow ochre or a cadmium. Lately I have been using titanium/zinc white. I might add a fourth hue, i.e. use both black and blue, or both yellow ochre and cadmium yellow light.

For oil painting I use a glass palette, many different brands of paint, and a variety of brushes. What I cannot live without: my diamond shaped knives and the ingredients of Marogers medium: black oil and mastic varnish which are mixed together to make a gel. Sometimes I mix marble dust and wax into the paint.
Susan Lichtman website