Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mossy maples

Mossy Maples

I finished the maple grove painting today, and have several photos of its stages of evolving.

On the dried background, the first thing I did was draw in the lines of the individual trees with a medium green.

Next I took a dark green and gave the trees their trunks, and blocked in the foreground ferns. Once their shapes were defined I added the mossy spots on them, and tested some other shades of green on the ferns.

I decided the whole painting was too low key, so I glazed over the upper background to lighten it.

The last photo I took with my iPad surprised me by making the colors more saturated than they appeared in the painting. I liked the effect so much I took pure violet and veridian and washed them over the background. I added lighter highlights on the trees and the ferns, but it still seemed way too dark, and after a while staring at it I noticed the too-dark area in the top center. So I lightened that up, and then went over the moss a few times with lighter moss green, until it looked as it had the day I saw it. It was after all the moss that had attracted me to the scene.

Friday, December 21, 2012

First plein air of the back yard

In midsummer this year a couple of watercolor painter friends came over and joined in the backyard for a lovely afternoon's worth of plein air painting. It was my first plein air attempt in at least 5 years, so I opted for a simple rough watercolor-like sketch—only in acrylics—and only got it half done that day.

A few weeks ago I dragged it out again, along with a photo I took that day of how things looked. Some daylilies and hydrangeas were in bloom so I know it was July-ish. It was a really nice comfortable afternoon, a perfect day for being outside (with mosquito repellent on), and surprise, surprise—also nice and quiet. It ended up being the only day I went outside and just did art, but I hope I can do a lot more next year, including all the sketching I had hoped to do. That was one of my New Year's resolutions. Oops.

This is a background I just painted today for a new painting of a maple grove in late winter. Almost every time I try to document the stages of a painting, that painting is a disaster, so I'm hoping to break the jinx.

As I look at this one now, though, I'm already thinking I should have blended all the colors more as I put them down, that this is way too textured and rough for what's going to be an equally-textured foreground. Oops. Well, we'll see. Time for a few more paintings this year, if I keep working.

Hope you had a good Solstice!