Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sketch painting for practice

Zion Sketch 1
Once again with a full palette after the two florals, I decided yesterday it was time to tackle some of the 1" thick stack of my photos that I've thought about trying to paint, and picked one from Zion National Park. I wanted to do as quick a sketch as I could, just enough to work out if the image would translate to a painting both composition- and color-wise, plus be as interesting as I thought it was as a photo. I already had the colors I needed on the palette, so I grabbed a scraggly brush and started brushing in the shapes, and filling them in with what I already had mixed. Since there were a lot of dark and shadowy areas, I brushed those in as well to locate all the shrubbery and rock contours.

I loosely followed the colors from the photo, inadvertently intensifying them. This composition seems to play the light orange off the fairly-pure yellow of the central tree, but with plenty of support from blue, greens, and the grayed violet. So once again, the same basic combination—yellow & violet, and orange & blue, but this time with a lot more of the yellow-greens. I really can't believe how versatile this set of colors is.

I was thinking as I started that doing sketches would give me both a lot of practice, and a low-pressure place to figure out how to handle the more challenging areas, which in this case were the shadows, the large rock mass behind the front one, and the tree in the foreground. The rock mass I had to repaint a few times, and it took a few tries to get the hue and value of the shadowy areas on the orange rock, but the yellowish tree in front was a lucky break. I like the way the simple shape and bright colors attract attention to the foreground while they're playing off the more distant orange. I had thought I would want to refine the whole painting more, but was happy to find it had a lively rough look that suited it.

I see lots more sketching in my future.

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