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!