Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 11, 2008

Hello all. I'm already behind on posting my sketches. But I've been very busy with other exciting things like making some business decisions. On with the art, though!

I did this little painting last Thursday, 9/11/08. It was a busy day. It would have been easy to find an excuse not to go out and sketch. But what a gorgeous day it was! So I made myself just go somewhere and see what I could see. I went to Swasey Parkway, which is a little walkway and auto road along the Squamscott River in the downtown area of Exeter. Both sides of the river have a section to walk along leading out of downtown. On various occasions I have seen all kinds of birds, turtles, fish and even a river otter. It also offers terrific views of the backside of downtown Exeter.

On this day I chose a tree. Not surprising. Trees have always been one of my favorite subjects to draw. This one is some kind of maple. It has very dark reddish-brown leaves that glow with an orangey light when the sun goes through them. My objective was to get to the color with my paints. Although I did not achieve quite the darkness that the shadowed side had, I like the end result that I cam up with. It was quite a tricky thing, trying to match the colors that I saw. My first attempt fell way short. I was mixing the wrong kind of greens and reds to make the dark reds. And the glowing orange color completely escaped me. It was a dull yet brilliant orange from sunlight passing through the leaves. I think I was using too much red.

I began by trying to identify what the base color Then I had to figure out from there which of my reds to use...the warm or the cool red? I went with the warm red. Of course, mixing it with green will go to a brown, depending on the percent of each pigment. What I wanted was to darken my red with it's opposite but not loose a sense of "red" in the color. It's amazing, when implementing this theory, how far you can push a color before loosing it completely. After lots of mixing and testing and not coming up with a reasonable match, I realized that I was probably using the wrong red. So I switched to the cool red and viola! I came up with a very happy color almost immediately. The orange color for the illuminated leaves was far trickier. After about an hour-and-a-half of working on this piece, I decided to be happy with what I had done.

So, in the end, I have a lively tree with real nice coloring but no illumination. What do you think?

By the way, I learned yesterday that I did not receive the grant I applied for. Nonetheless, I am carrying on with some of the elements from my grant application. Life is good.

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