Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Colors in the Mountains

(Posted by Maggie)
Here in New Mexico, fall comes in stages. We live on the west side of Albuquerque, and look across the valley where the cottonwoods are beginning to turn a lovely golden yellow. Up on the mountain, though, it's been fall for quite a while. Most of the trees on the mountain are evergreen, but the aspen turn yellow and the scrub oak turn red and then brown, making a wonderful mix.

We hiked a little ways on the 10-K Trail, so named because it stays generally around 10,000 ft. in altitude. In some areas, the aspen were already losing their leaves, but in more protected areas they were stunningly beautiful. Mostly yellow, there are occasional trees that turn dark orange or even acquire a red tinge. Mixed in with the evergreens, they are sometimes so brilliant they appear to be lit from within.

Painting this small study was a challenge. I could not get the bright tree as bright as I wanted it until I remembered a "rule" I often mention when I'm teaching: if you can't get a color bright enough, darken the colors around it, and if you can't get it warm enough, cool the surrounding colors. A few touches of a slightly darker ultramarine in the evergreens beside the aspen solved the problem.

Above left: Aspen Glow, 5x7, oil on panel, ©Maggie Price; $75.

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