A New Palette

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.