Thursday, May 31, 2012


The Pumphouse     11x14     oil on linen
This painting is a good example of varying the greens.  It's a rather common thing for painters who are unfamiliar with painting landscapes to come back with an overwhelming amount of green in their painting.  If you look at your own snapshots, you'll get an idea of what the landscape painter is up against.  GREEN!  It's everywhere!  It wants to take over (at least until about mid June around here).  Even then, the inexperienced painter will be mislead to produce "green monsters".

The first step in avoiding the green monster is to become more sensitive to the various incidents that influence the variety of greens out there.  If we observe carefully, we find there are orangey-greens, yellow-greens, blue-greens, deep greens, bright and muted greens of all sorts.  Most of which rarely ever fall into the color range usually selected by the novice painter: "radiant emerald".  Nature's greens are far more muted and varied than we imagine.  To show their variety, and harmonies, requires careful observation and color mixing.

The same green of a plant seen in sunlight will appear very different when viewed in shade, and the contrast makes for much of the beauty in landscape paintings.  The sunlight may add a warm yellow-orange cast to all the varieties of greens in the scene, while the shade moves the same basic green to a softer, cooler hue, and even may suggest a purplish-violet cast at times.  The outdoor painter, interested in improvising with these gorgeous effects must orchestrate the results to show the characteristic differences in foliage color, while also capturing their appearance when seen close up, or in the distance.  Add this color awareness to good drawing, accurate value relationships, and interesting design, and you're well on your way to solving the problem of "green monsters".  

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