So what is this “radiant palette” all about? I received an inquiry recently asking about this term, used by Thomas Kinkade and other artists, referring to luminous colors, and an increase in middle tones that shift in light.
In my opinion, there are two ways to get this effect.
First, lay out your palette so that it contains both modern and mineral colors (also known as organic and inorganic). The modern pigments are much more intense, brighter, and yes, I guess you could say radiant. They have only been around for 60 years or so, so the old masters wouldn’t have used them. My book, Acrylic Revolution, has a section dedicated to these.
Secondly, adding iridescent and interference pigmented paints to your palette will greatly enhance the colors ability to shift in different light and at different viewing angles. (Both of these are also covered in my book.) You could mix either of these types of paints to your colored paints to make them more refractive – catching the light – and changing accordingly. The iridescent are made with microscopic mica chips to add refraction, and pigmented color to simulate metals such as bronze, gold and silver. The interference are very different. They refract different portions of the color spectrum. They appear milky when applied thickly over light colors and will flip between complementary colors when viewed at different angles. These same interference will shift to a specific color when applied thinly over a dark color, or when a small amount of dark color is added to them. These are very fun to play around with, and to try various combinations on your mixing palette. Use the modern pigments with the interference and iridescent to keep them refractive.