Saturday, June 7, 2014

Different views

My husband gave me a wonderful gift for Christmas, a ballon ride!  We finally were able to go on our ride this past April.  You can read more about the adventure on my husband's blog.  Spring is a wonderful time for a balloon flight.  The cold of winter was gone, the forest trees are freshly green, and the farm lands are being planted.

Before the flight I thought I would be taking photos of the country side, and I did take some, but what captured my interest was the shadow our balloon cast over the land we were flying over.  Over the fields the shadow was a distinct balloon shape.  But tendrils of the shadow crept across the trees like tangled and distorted black fingers, creating an ever changing shape.

 I decided to paint the image of the ballon's shadow over a field and bordering tree line.  It was early morning, the sun lit the full length of the trees, casting long dark shadows.  I used a preliminary sketch (at left) to helped me select the yellow and blue pigments for the color palette.  I tested washes and brush techniques.  In the photo the colors of the fields and trees can be seen through the balloon's shadow.  In the sketch I tried adding some of the balloon's colors to the shadow.
For the full size painting I used a Cobalt Blue wash for the sky, an Ochre Yellow wash for the field on the right, and a mixture of Ochre Yellow and Cobalt Blue for the field on the left.  Once the washes had dried I painted the background trees and foreground bushes wet on wet, letting the colors mix.  I added shadows to the distant trees and definition to the pine tree the balloon's shadow fell on.  The ballon's shadow was painted  darkest where it covered the tree line, and lighter over the fields so the yellow and green of the show through.  I alternated between washes and using a fan brush to add additional green and yellows to the fields to add texture and depth to the painting.

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