Saturday, May 18, 2013

Composing a landscape

We were finally ready to put the elements we had learned about together in a plein air landscape painting.  Marilynn did demonstrations on controlling your wash, creating perspective though size and color, color harmony and selecting pigments to use in your painting.

We reviewed color temperature, and then painted cool and warm color wheels using limited palettes (showing primary, secondary and tertiary).  We discussed the concepts of employing analogous colors to bring harmony, and complementary colors to create contrast in our paintings.

We were then sent out to practice what we had learned on our own plein air landscapes.  A brilliant red tree caught my eye in area across the road between Davidson Hall and the herb garden.  The expansive lawn around that area had large patches of Mustard (Sinapis arvensis), known locally as 'Yellow top'.  

I found a place with a good view and composed a painting of the landscape around that wonderful red tree.  The day was warm and bright, providing the perfect opportunity for me to test out my new ShadeBuddy Umbrella which worked great!  I should have taken a photo of it in action but was preoccupied with painting.   After testing different colors, I selected a pallet of Ultramarine Blue, Crome Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Quinacridone Red and Raw Siena.

Later I went over to the to the garden to identify and sketch the bright red tree.  It turned out to be a beautiful Redbud cultivar.  The wind had picked up and to take closeups of the flowers I had to hold the branches.  Each time a gust of wind shook the other tree branches, thousands of bumble bees that were feasting on the nectar in the blooms were blown off the branches into a buzzing cloud surrounding me and the tree.

The red bloom covered branches looked lovely against the blue sky and green land.  I did a quick watercolor sketch in the field.  I used that sketch along with the photos to complete a painting back at the studio, were Carol lent me some additional colors to boost my palette: Yellow gouache (for the mustard blooms) and Opera (for the lighter shades in the tree blooms).  I think the title should be 'Simultaneous contrast'.

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