Sunday, August 4, 2013

Project Robin: fourth painting

The Robin in the third painting was much better, but due to flaws in the paper, I needed another painting.  As long as I was doing another painting I planned on some additional refinements.  I decided a less distracting and chaotic background could improve the overall composition of the painting.  I made a pencil sketch massing color areas in the background and foreground.  I used the sketch as a basis for developing an overall color pattern that would flowed across the page.  

Next I took a closer look at the leaves of the Japanese Red Maple, Acer palmatum atropurpureum, to better understand their individual and combined color ranges.  Early spring leaves are orange-red, they turn red-purple to green in summer, then back to red in the fall.  The variety of color combined with the shape of the palmate leaves make it easy to understand why these trees are so popular.  To the left is the page for the Japanese Red Maple that I added to my Tree journal.  I started the journal way back in 2011 as part of a course I took at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Finally, I tested how the color pigments I would be using for the leaves would combine and play together.  I used what I found from these tests to decide which colors to lay down first to create the orange and green shades in the painting.

In the fourth (and final) painting all the small branch in front of the Robin were eliminated, leaving only a few small branches in the background.  I painted the Robin, nest and branches first, and then uses the same wet-on-wet technique to add one swath of color at a time, letting them run together, covering the branches and edges of the nest.  I came back and defined a few distinct leaf shapes.

The colors in the fourth painting are muted, similar to the first painting, but because the colors are massed the red-oranges create a distinct foreground and the greens push into the background framing the Robin.

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