30 Days of Value Thumbnails – Day 28

mini painting color study evening sun on roadside trees May 26 2019
Mini color study, “Last Glimpse of the Sun”, 3×4 oil on paper

Many of the country roads here in NC are thickly lined with trees, and always tempt me to pull over and take pictures when I’m out and about. But it’s often hard to find a good spot to pull over. One evening I was on my way home and the sun was setting, illuminating the sides of some trees and part of the gravel road with bright, warm light. Lucky for me there was an ideal place to park and jump out for a few shots. I only got a couple of them taken before the sun went behind the trees and the light became much less interesting.

For my block-in colors, I thought about the primary value and temperature of each simple shape. It’s starting to sink in that one of the benefits of a block-in is to have some color on the surface to respond to. I noticed that when I applied the first dark greens to the trees on the left, it looked relatively appropriate. But when I did the same thing with the tree on the right, the color was much too light. Which makes sense — the main tree mass on the left was blocked in lighter than I intended. (One of my big struggles with trees is that I swing back and forth between being too dark and too light.)

But I really like how the tree forms are modeled, so that feels like a win! The greens get more intense and slightly lighter as they get hit by more light, and I feel like they have a good sense of being in direct sun without losing the overall shape or getting disjointed.

Block-in using transparent earth red, ultramarine blue, alizarin permanent, and Winsor Lemon

I love the composition of this thumbnail and the mix of shapes — it would be a good candidate for turning into a larger painting.

Reference photo taken on the way home one evening as the sun was setting behind the trees

Value thumbnails of simple shapes

Black and white value check of my color study