Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Spring in January

Many artists are very opposed to painting from photos.  Joyce Hick's talks a lot in her book about painting a feeling and not copying a photo.  I understand her point and what others are saying but, honestly, if I made a hard and fast rule about not painting from photos I would not get much painting done.  There are not a lot of opportunities for painting outside during winter in Iowa.  After yesterday's rain and ice, I can't even safely make it across the yard to my studio.  But being housebound did not stop me from painting because I had my watercolor journal, portable palette, a photo of the neighboring farm and the value sketch I had made.  And my imagination.

I did not copy the photo, but used it as a valuable reference for my sketch.  It helped me consider the play of light and shadow.  Once I had the value sketch worked out, though, I found I seldom referred to the photo.  Especially since the picture was taken in early winter and I wanted my painting to reflect the greens and growth of late spring.

Here are the original photo, value sketch and the finished painting:


Colors used: Cinerous blue for the sky;  a touch of Quin Gold on the bottom of clouds and toward horizon, here and there in the foreground trees and grass;  Permanent Violet for the background trees, roofs, shadows on house and deep shadows in ditch;  Payne's Grey for house and window shadows, tire and shadows across road;  varied mixes of Ultramarine Blue, Leaf Green, Olive Green and Hooker's Green for the foliage and grass;  Sepia for the tree, field and shadows on power poles and posts, also mixed with Payne's Grey for the gravel road.

Joy and Blessings,


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