30 Days of Value Thumbnails – Day 11

mini painting color study Yellowstone storm May 9 2019
Mini color study, “Under the Dark Sky”, 3×4 oil on paper

On one of our drives through beautiful Yellowstone National Park, we just had to stop and take some photos of this stunning sky full of stormy clouds. It was a meadow-like clearing with a long view of the mountains in the distance. If I were taking these photos today, I’d try to do a much better job of making notes about what it felt like, what the quality of the light was, and other things I noticed about the colors and mood.

I’m sure the sky in my photo reference was much too dark, and I attempted to account for that in my value thumbnail. But I kept getting pulled over to the photo and struggled to avoid using cloud colors that were too dark. I could definitely benefit from some plein air cloud studies!

The overall mood of the light is cool, but I wanted to incorporate warmth as well, so there are accents of warm peaches and mauves, and a dash of more intense slightly-warmer green. For the dark mass of trees, I scrubbed in a dark violet shape and put the greens on top of it so I could experiment with pairing green and violet. It’s super subtle, but at a larger scale I think it could be a really interesting way to block in that area.

Reference photo from Yellowstone National Park
Value thumbnail of simple shapes
Black and white value check of my color study