Monday, January 21, 2013

Got snow? Paint snow.

The second snowfall we had, I took a few photos of the trees and yard that I really liked, including a couple that captured snowflakes falling. I've never made a snow painting before and I was ready to try. I worked on this sketch for a couple days, and halfway through the second day it started making me feel cold when I looked at it. It was fun painting the snowflakes, too.

The color scheme was a bit of a challenge because I didn't want it to be monochromatic, but with plenty of green and blue-green, plus a little blue and the pale yellow-orange in the sky, some almost invisible accents of blue-violet gave it a nice analogous balance.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Blue blanket of spring

I had tried every year since my first year in this garden to take a good picture of the forget-me-nots in bloom, but one I took last year is the first one that I thought would make a good painting. I love my forget-me-nots. Every year they come up all over behind the house of their own accord and blanket the area with sky blue that lasts for weeks. For me it's like The Official Arrival Of Spring. Now, it's 31º outside and it'll be at least three more months before it's warm enough to plant anything, so it seemed like a great time to turn this photo into a painting.

I had a couple of mishaps along the way. When I first blocked in the buildings they reminded me of some of Georgia O'Keefe's building abstracts and I spent several days struggling to fight down a really strong desire to turn it into a minimalist abstraction.

I wasn't sure how to paint the flowers because although they look like a blue cloud when they're all blooming, each flower is only a quarter inch across, so on the photo they look like tiny pinpoints of blue. I took a stencil brush and tried "pouncing" the blue on, and that looked like crap, so I went back to a small flat brush and re-did them, and redid the foliage as well until almost all the tiny specks were gone. So anyone who knows what a forget-me-not is will never accept these blue strokes as forget-me-nots, but this is as close as I can get to how blue my garden is when they bloom.

The other way you can pinpoint the time of year, down to a single week, in fact, is the yellow-green tips of some of the fir branches. They're only that bright when they first start growing, and within a week the effect of glowing tips is gone.