Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Paint the Forest, Not the Trees

This is an exercise in "negative painting." I started by painting the entire surface with yellow ochre. Then I painted around the foreground trees with Pthalo blue. Then I painted around the next layer of trees with more blue. Repeat. The idea is that you never actually paint the trees themselves--only the spaces around them. Yeah, I know. Clear as mud!

Actually, the trick is to avoid mud. The more different pigments used, the muddier the color becomes. (See my previous comments about the petals of flowers.) So I stuck to Pthalo blue until the very last, darkest layer, where I used Daniel Smith Blue Apatite Genuine.

The other challenge in this exercise is compositional: there is a tendency to have "cookie cutter trees" that are uniformly spaced, sized and/or slanted, which is not good. So each time I paint around a tree, I have to make sure that it is different from the trees on either side of it. Each tree is an individual, not a clone. Not as easy as it sounds, believe me.

I'll use this as a demo painting for this afternoon's class.

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