30 Days of Value Thumbnails – Day 16

mini painting color study Zion National Park May 14 2019
Mini color study, “Zion in Autumn”, 3×4 oil on paper

This reference photo from our Zion trip was so pretty, but the contrast was very low which flattened out the scene a lot. So today’s thumbnail was a good exploration of using the value shapes to force some depth and separation.

I wasn’t able to quite get the color I wanted on the yellow trees. After completing the study and reflecting on it I think it’s because the canyon wall behind them isn’t grey or cool enough. So as I’d mix the yellow, I kept seeking what I was looking for by going lighter and yellower. But if I’d made the rock wall less warm, it wouldn’t compete with the golds I was mixing. Cooling the color would also help push that wall back into the distance more.

I love how the river is working. It was fun to figure out how to make the shadowy areas relate to the lighter parts that more clearly reflect the sky. This scene has the potential to be made into a larger painting — I have a crush on compound curve compositions. It’s the main reason this photo made it into my thumbnail pile, despite the low-contrast issue!

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