Thursday, March 7, 2013

Elaborating on Dull, Winter Colors

Almost to the Top, pastel, 8x10
This week in my classes we worked with grey winter landscapes (not snow scenes) and focused on taking what little color we had to work with, and elaborating. Many people find it odd that the gray, winter landscape is often my favorite type of landscape to work with. I find it to be a fun challenge to take those grays and push a little extra color out of whatever small amount of color I find present.  I basically elaborate on the faint color that's there.

I start by choosing an initial color palette of the grayed colors that I see. Then I found slightly more saturated hues of those colors and place them in key areas of the painting where I want to viewer's eye to linger. I'm still primarily using the local color, but just squeezing a bit more vibrancy out of it.

Since I had a couple of similar reference photos of the same landscape, I painted a different demo for each class this week. (I usually use the same photo for both classes, since my students can opt to attend either day, and I like to keep the topic exactly the same for each class.)

Above is my demo from my Thursday class. Below is Wednesday's demo.

Perfect Day for a Hike, pastel, 8x10

Following below are a couple of progression shots of each. For each, I used an underpainting of just three colors and an alcohol wash. The warm hue used in the underpainting helped to balance the majority of cools used in the color palette.


  1. Always a challenge to make "something" from so little, but your demos show that it can be so much more! Thank you

  2. Beautiful work, Barbara, and I admire how your paintings work with so little detail. Your masses say it all. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Beautiful paintings! Love the way you develop the painting. Always lovely!!!

  4. Thank you, ladies! I really appreciate your perceptive observations of what I strive to do with my paintings. Always grateful for the thoughtful comments!

  5. "Almost to the Top": this one is a beauty.