Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring Greens, Part 2

Springtime Awakening, pastel, 8x10

We continued with our series on painting springtime greens this week. When I was choosing the reference photo for this week's demo, I struggled with whether or not I could make something out of the photo I used for this one, "Springtime Awakening." The light was a little flat, and it really had quite the tangled mess of sparse springtime branches and foliage. Starting with large, simplified shapes was a MUST on this one!

Sorry, I was a bit lax on getting my progression shots this time, but below is my underpainting just after I applied the alcohol wash. I also included my reference photo below.

With the flat light, there wasn't much contrast between the foliage masses and the ground, so my large tree shapes in the underpainting couldn't be too dark.And as the painting progressed, the lighter overall values of the trees had to remain pretty close to those of the fresh spring grass With this subtle value range, I took my time searching for correct values, and hoped I wasn't putting any of my students to sleep as they waited for me to make my selections.

I was careful to place only a few well chosen very dark values where necessary to break up the close value ranges most everywhere else. The roof line of the distant structure helped to balance things with some horizontal dark accents.


  1. Your photo, comments, beginning sketches, and alcohol washes are great teaching tools on your blog. I usually paint in oils, but want to expand my pastels and your blog is invaluable. Sometimes I work backwards by taking one of my oil landscapes and doing it as a 5x7 pastels! Thank you so much for the time you spend on blogging. I have learned some much.

  2. This one is special. Stunning.

  3. I must have missed seeing the comments on this post...thank you!!