30 Days of Value Thumbnails – Day 12

mini painting color study Yellowstone storm May 10 2019
Mini color study, “Storm Coming” 3×4 oil on paper

OK, I’m officially spending way more time than I want on these mini color studies. This happens to me a lot, where I overcomplicate something that was meant to be simple and focused. These aren’t about rendering detail or good brushwork — but it’s like the lure of the siren song!

Time to get back to my original goal: mixing good color palettes and working within the value structure I set up in my thumbnails.

This is based on the same basic scene I used in yesterday’s mini color study, of a storm gathering over the mountains in Yellowstone. For this one, I thought more about cool light and warm shadows, and working within a relatively narrow value zone due to the diffused light from the dark clouds overhead. I like the silvery-grey light that illuminates the landscape during weather like this.

There are little bits of dark maroon in some of the shadows of the upright elements and a dull orange in the foreground grasses that I enjoyed adding. I’m having a lot of fun exploring the idea of enhancing greens with violets, mauves, and oranges.

Reference photo taken along Blacktail Plateau Drive in Yellowstone National Park
Value thumbnail of simple shapes
Black and white value check of my color study

I think my values have strayed too much from my original plan, and it’s losing a sense of depth. I’d need to look at adjusting this if I took it to a larger painting, maybe starting with a new thumbnail.