Thursday, July 19, 2012

What To Do With Green & Blue

Soaking Up Sun, pastel, 9 x 12
For my pastel classes I thought we'd shift to some summer landscapes after several weeks of architectural subject matter. I think my students had enough straight lines for awhile.

The trouble with summer landscapes in the east is figuring out what to do with all that green and blue, which takes up most of the subject matter in a typical landscape. Sometimes if you're lucky you can find some color variation in the grass and trees, and possibly some colorful clouds in the sky, but otherwise, you're stuck with  getting creative with green and blue, and need you to reach into your artistic bag of tricks.

In this particular location, I did have some color variation in the grass, which I was sure to make use of in the painting. But I had to find my own color interpretation in the trees.

reference photo
Once I established the basic color palette I wanted to use, I thought in terms of warms and cools to pull forward and push back, which helped me to narrow down my color sections. Working from photos, I find that I need to exaggerate the difference in both values and color temperature from foreground to background in order to push areas back into the distance.

Composition of course always plays an important role in making artwork out of anything. You'll notice I shifted the placement of several items and avoided chopping off some branches coming in from the left in the photo.

Soaking Up Sun is my demo from this morning's class.

For our next class, we'll tackle another green & blue landscape and reach for something else in that old artistic bag of tricks..


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