I’ve been experimenting with eliminating earth pigments—burnt umber and yellow ochre—from my palette. It is something Len Chmiel had suggested years ago. If he needed to, Len could make his toned-down hues by muting the intense colors like the cadmiums. I’ve also found I can make rich darks with French ultramarine and a red (and a Cad orange for a warmer black.) I had justified my use of the earth colors as a quick way to less intense passages in a landscape since they were already toned down, but it seems to me that this was affecting the brilliance of the whole picture. I think it was holding me back from getting the full range of possibilities.
I’ve also made a habit of holding my lightest and darkest values in reserve and then not using them. In these paintings I’ve tried to address both issues.