Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Early Color

...Early Color...
6" x 8" - oil on canvas

This is another plein air painting, started in the field and finished later in the studio. The leaves seem to be turning early this year, probably because it has been so dry. It is easy to get too detailed in a painting like this, especially since there is so much beautiful detail in the scene. I tried to lessen the detail by making the tree trunk on the left the same value as the foliage behind it. Not sure if it helped--It's hard to judge your own paintings when they're fresh.

While I was painting, one of my friends took my picture. Yes, I am using an umbrella in the shade! It really helped, too. There was dappled light coming through the tree above.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Falls Mill

...Falls Mill...
oil on canvas - 6" x 8"

Last week, I went out plein air painting with some friends. We went to this little waterfall. There had been a mill here long ago, but all that's left of it is part of the stone foundation. At this hour of the morning, most of the scene was in shadow. I had to work really fast and did a quick study, which I finished later in the studio from a photo.

The photo, by the way, was really boring and looked nothing like my quick study. (Did you ever take a picture of a scene you thought was really beautiful, and when you see the photo, you wonder why you took it?) I altered the photograph on my computer so that the colors and contrast would match my study. Otherwise it would not have been useful at all.


Oh, and here is the plein air study:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lewis Falls

...Lewis Falls...
oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

Another scene from Shenandoah National Park... Getting to the falls was quite a hike, but it was downhill all the way. Getting back was another story. This was as much of the falls as I could see, because there was so much brush in front of me, I couldn't see the bottom. As you can see, there wasn't a lot of water.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blue Ridge Mountains - SOLD

...Blue Ridge Mountains...
oil on canvas - 6" x 8"

I can't believe how hard this was to paint.
I had to wipe it off and start over three times! And I'm still not totally happy with it. I just keep telling myself, "It's only a daily painting, it's only a daily painting, it's only... "

Maybe I'm being too perfectionistic, but the very slight changes in the value and temperature of the colors, plus all the soft blending made a huge difference in the aerial perspective. The so-called "rules" of aerial perspective, (that colors get lighter and bluer and less intense as seen from a greater distance), seem to have been written on a sunny day with a blue sky. Here, at dusk, there was so much red in the light, there was a lot of purple in the distance. Actually, the color of those background mountains, which appears blue-violet here, had so much red it, it looked pink on the palette.

The sun seemed to be floating on a layer of purple mist. I put a little thalo turquoise in the sun, so it would vibrate against the reds.