9 mini landscape paintings project, number 5

9 mini landscape paintings 5
“A Quiet Corner”, 3×4, oil on oil paper

Yesterday I used some of the extra paint on my palette to tone the rest of my papers for this project. I had been doing a very light wash, but for these I did a mid-value color in a variety of hues. Today’s was a dull orange color (similar to burnt sienna) so I decided to try out an analogous color scheme built around yellow-green.

I selected another photo from a photo hike I took last March near Durham, in the late afternoon with an overcast sky. This was a peaceful corner of a field, and I liked the color of the grasses and the tiny little rows in the ground from where the growth had been mowed.

After doing the compositional sketches, I selected one based on S and pyramid armatures. The analogous color scheme included orange-yellow, yellow, yellow-green, and blue-green. For a color palette to build these mixes, I chose cadmium yellow light, Winsor Yellow Deep, sap green, and as a neutralizer ultramarine violet.

9 mini landscape paintings 5 - planning
Value thumbnail, Notan, and color strategy with test swatches based on reference photo in upper left

For blocking in, I used a combination of cadmium yellow light, terra rosa, and ultramarine violet, keeping the edges soft. My intention was to let some of the orange peek out here and there to contrast with the greens. I think this was a nice color to use for the toning and block in because it prevented me from going too cool with the greens. I did a painting awhile back with a cool-toned block in and the overall effect was skewed cool because of it.

Another thing I really focused on with this mini painting was the edge handling between the bushes and the sky. I mixed an intermediate color between the sky color and bush color to gently paint around the edges of the bushes, and added more small details in the foreground bush. I think that really enhanced how those turned out. And I love it when a texture moves from light to shadow to light because it really helps explain the effects of light on that surface. So that gentle cast shadow in the foreground was a really fun area to watch take shape.

I like the harmony between the landscape and the sky — normally I stay true to the blue sky, but it often doesn’t feel quite in harmony with the rest of the landscape. Since there was no blue on my palette, the overcast sky is represented with a dulled down light green, with some warmer notes added.

I’m getting a better handle on color harmony, which is exciting. A few things have been helpful:

  • using a limited palette
  • studying how neutral colors are in nature
  • learning how to effectively neutralize colors
  • using an analogous color scheme

While painting, I definitely felt the urge to match every color in the reference photo. But the more I do that, the less harmonious my paintings become. Plus, with this particular palette matching all of those colors isn’t the goal or even possible.

The value contrast might be a bit too high for the light conditions I was going for, I’m happy with how this little painting turned out!