Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Wall of Green

Through the Woods, pastel, 10x8
Painting the greens of spring and summer are always a challenge, but when there's not a lot of distance within your landscape, and you have the "wall of green" all up close, I find it to be even trickier. Increased distance between landscape elements gives the artist the luxury of using atmospheric (or aerial) perspective, which helps to create the illusion of depth and distance. Value, color temperature and manipulation of edges come into play when working with this illusion. But when it's all fairly close to the viewer, we don't have all those "tricks"...or at least not as many, and to a smaller degree.

Color temperature and edges are the two "tricks" we can still use, although not to the extreme that we could if more distance were involved. To push back the foliage furthest behind, I cooled down the color temperature a bit more than my photo was telling me and softened the edges. Where the sunlight was hitting more directly also dictated where my warmer color temps would be placed.

reference photo
Since I didn't have a whole lot of value differences in the foliage area (other than where sunlight was hitting), I needed to depend on my color temps and edges to do most of the work. Below are a few progression images from my demo. In the first image (the underpainting) I used exaggerated warms and cools to help with pushing back and pulling forward.


  1. Barbara the depth you create in your work is amazing. Thank you for this post with some explanation of your process.

  2. This is beautiful Barbara, I love your work and the progress shots are really interesting, thanks...Leesa

  3. Thanks, Peggy and Leesa! Your comments are very appreciated. :-)

  4. I like this piece very much. Love the colors. So enjoyed seeing your progression of the work and certainly did achieve the distance in this close up scene.

  5. I'm working with a photo I took of two young girls riding their ponies and I have a wall of green that I've been struggling with. Glad I came across this work of yours. I'm going to try to push it back some and after looking at your beautiful work I know to add more color. Thanks for posting ;) I need to take one of your work shops I do believe.