Thursday, July 26, 2012

What To Do With Green & Blue, Part 2

Daydreaming Walk, pastel, 9 x 12
This week in class we continued working from another summer landscape photo with mostly green and blue shown as the local colors. In last week's demo, I focused on breathing life into the local color and stretching those colors a bit with some other colors added to the palette, while harmonizing all color throughout.

This week was all about exaggerating. While I still got very interpretive with my color palette, I exaggerated the depth into the landscape by bumping up the contrast between hard and soft edges, while also increasing the contrast in the values and color temperature of the more distant trees to make them appear further than they actually do in the photo.

reference photo

One thing that always used to confuse me as a beginner artist was how other artists could get away with using bright colors and sharp edges far into the distance of their landscapes and soft edges in the foreground. These types of scenes seem to quickly draw the viewer far into the distance real well. But how does one break those rules that are initially learned regarding edges and how they're supposed to become softer as they recede into the distance?

That's where a well stocked artistic bag of tricks comes in handy! If you break one "rule," you must rely on another to compensate. (I actually hate calling them "rules" but just know that I'm only referring to generally accepted principles of painting and drawing.) So if you use a sharp edge in the distance and soft edge in the foreground, you must use some other "trick" to pull areas forward and keep the background pushed back. In my demo above, I used warm colors in the foreground to pull it forward, and increased (exaggerated) the value differences in the trees as they receded. I was also very selective with where I sharpened an edge and still kept the majority of the edges in the distance soft.

You'll notice from the above reference photo that I also recomposed the shape of the path for a more inviting    entrance into the painting. Since I had the path coming into the corner (something I don't usually do), I wanted to minimize the attention to that corner using the soft edges there and move the view past that area quickly to the sharper edges further in.

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