I picked up a copy of Jim Gurney's new book a while back, and it has proven to be one of my better book purchases. Had Color and Light been my college Color Theory textbook, I am certain I would be many times more confident with color than I am today. Well, it didn't exist back then, but now that I have read it, I decided I need to give it's lessons a go.
I thought that the sheep mountain piece would be a perfect opportunity to try out some of Jim's sound advise on how to handle both light and color. I started with a small color study, and decided to implement two of the color restrictions Mr. Gurney outlines in his book. The first is a simple color gamut based on the Yurmby wheel. For those of you unfamiliar with the Yurmby wheel (as I was until I read the book), it is a color wheel that employs six primaries of both the print and light spectrums: RGB and CMY. The wheel goes like this: Yellow, Red, Magenta, Blue, Cyan, Green. It provides a much fuller range of colors than is allowed with the standard Red-Yellow-Blue color wheel. Anyway, my color gamut looks like this:
The idea behind the gamut is to limit the number of colors you allow yourself, in order to create a strong unity in the piece, and as a safeguard against overwhelming the viewer with too many colors. It also is a quick way to develop a strong mood in the piece. My gamut for this painting is fairly neutral, with the strongest chroma falling somewhere between pure blue and pure cyan.
The other method I am employing to limit myself is to use a very limited pallet. The only tubes of paint I am using are Vermilion, French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow light, and Titanium White. This is a huge hurdle for me to jump. I am really used to using about 10-15 different tubes of paint on any given painting, and cutting back to only three colors, plus white was a huge challenge. The color study for the painting turned out pretty ok though, and I am excited to get cracking on the actual piece. Here's the study (sorry about all the white spots, photographing canvas with overhead fluorescents is a bitch):
Oh, and I didn't forget about the self-portrait, I just am not at a point with it that I am ready to post anything. Maybe after the weekend.