Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gamut Mapping at MICA

Many painting teachers have been using Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter as a textbook in the classroom. Patrick O'Brien, who teaches painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, described the lesson he taught out of the book:

We experimented with your method of gamut masking and mixing color strings. We used pages 123-131 in Color and Light, and also referenced pages 106-107 and 116-117.
For the exercise I brought in some simple photographs for them to copy, because I wanted to take the drawing element out of it, so they could concentrate on the color scheme. On the morning of class I went to the MICA library to find a color wheel to use. 
 In flipping through all the books about color, I could not find a single good color wheel that went to grey in the center. So we had to use the small color wheel in your book on page 75. We used index cards and tape to make the masks. As you can see, some students' first instinct was to photograph it with their phone and bring it back to their seat.  
 I had each student draw the subject twice. We did one small painting in one color gamut, and then their homework is to do another painting of the same scene in the other gamut. Pretty much exactly what you did in your video with the CircusCircus sign. 
 And now I've been inspired to incorporate these ideas into my own painting as well. I'm working on a New York 1940s maritime scene that would be perfect for a cool gamut.
Thanks for the great ideas! ---Patrick O'Brien, MICA

If other instructors are doing class projects based on ideas in Color and Light, please send me photos and a description, and I’ll try to share them on the blog.

And if you want to use Color and Light as your course guide, please let me know. At our little web store, we can offer you discounts on group orders, and I can sign them for each of your students.

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter signed from my web store
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter on Amazon
All photos by Patrick O'Brien
Previously on GJ:
My painting demo for Patrick's class at MICA 
Jason Dowd's use of C&L at LCAD


Keith Parker said...

I'm kinda jealous. I only wish my time in school had involved doing something like what is decribed above.I remember showing color and light to my teacher in college. He looked at it and said "that's a very nice book, but too advanced for this class I think." I refused to spend money on the book we were supposed to get for the class. Instead I used your book, and you know what? I got an A.

Kyle said...

Im with Keith.

uhgn. this would be so wonderful. I would kill to have someone sit down and teach me this over a few weeks. wonderful wonderful.

great post.

James Gurney said...

Keith, your comment made my day. I was just like you when I was in art school.

Keith Parker said...

Thank you James. That was a very nice thing of you to say.

Patrick O'Brien said...

It was a very instructive day in class. As with many good lessons, the teacher gets something out of it as well. I forgot to mention that at the same time, the students experimented with pre-mixing color strings, as suggested by Gurney. Regarding Keith's comment, I think that many people feel that their art school training was perhaps not practical enough. Too much theory and not enough craft. I know I felt that way.

Art Matters said...

Ok- I am persuaded - I need to get your book - for my students and myself!

Paul Cooke said...

I went to art college in my 20s, found it a frustrating experience and a complete waste of time. It even put me off painting for a long time. Then I bought both of Mr Gurney's books, and what a revelation!! I learnt more in just a month applying what I learnt with those books than I did in all my time at college. They are brilliant!!

Nope Nameo said...

I just ordered it from Amazon, I WISH I had seen I could have gotten a sign copy instead, now I am sad ;)

Keith Parker said...

So is it too late to mention that James' comment above made my day? I was just re-reading this and realized my response seemed a little stiff. I think I was trying to act respectable and hide the fact that I'm a huge Gurney fan! Didn't want to overeact and scare anybody. I was grinning like I had won a gold medal or something all day though.

Linda Navroth said...

I recently bought "Color and Light" because I finally decided to get serious about learning more about color and how to use it properly. I've also been following your blog for a few years. I'm interested in using the gamut mapping and my question is: would you please do a detailed post (or maybe even make a detailed video!) on how to create a "Yurmby" color wheel that goes to gray in the center? I am very new at good color mixing. I'd like to know the exact main (primary) tube colors to start with (not brand, but hue), and then what colors to mix with what to get the values of each. I learn very fast when I see things visually and I would really like to see how you create this color wheel.

James Gurney said...

Fair question. Painting one of those wheels is really tough! But it's good practice and really forces you to mix colors accurately and keep clean brushes. Don't know when I'll ever get to doing a video on that, though. So many other ideas!

Linda Navroth said...

Can you at least please tell me which main colors to start with? Like red--which red? cad red, cad red light, deep, etc. --just to get me started? Thanks!

James Gurney said...

A lot of paint manufacturers now make paints matched to the Cyan - Magenta - Yellow spectrum. You should be able to find them in oil, gouache, or acrylic if you look around. They're a decent place to start. I can't say exactly which tubes to buy because I don't know what medium you're using.

Linda Navroth said...

Sorry--watercolor and gouache