Monday, June 13, 2011

Backyard Plein Air

Apple Blossoms
16 x12

  Wimpy plein air painter's set up

We are finally getting some nice weather and it's making me restless in the studio.  But, since I'm not a particularly hardy plein air person, I decided to stay in the backyard and enjoy the plein air experience with ready access to a bathroom.

The apple trees were in full bloom, and while I think they're a better watercolour than oil subject, I had to give them a try.  It took a while to figure out how to give a sense of strong light on such pale forms, but I finally found that frequent temperature changes created the illusion that I was after.  Each bunch of white blossoms is made up of many colour temperatures layered on top of each other; and none of these colours is actually white.  Over the initial cool greenish or purplish grey, I brushed warmer, lighter peach and pink hues.  Then, for the final hit of strong light on the edges of the petals, I placed quite intense orange.  This made a nice contrast to the cerulean sky, but didn't believably read as light.  By throwing one more dollop of cool blue-white on top of the orange, I finally got the sunstruck look that I was after.  These many overlaps create a vibration that approximates the luminous quality of actual blossoms.  How my amazing tree does it, I'll never know!

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