Sunday, March 11, 2012

Painting Greens

Posted by Maggie

I've been teaching a class at the New Mexico Art League on Saturdays for the last six weeks. In order to make it work for students with varying schedules, each class day is a stand-alone unit focusing on a particular subject or technique, and people signed up for the sessions with subjects they wanted and dates that would work for them.

A couple of weeks ago, our subject was how to paint greens. Subjects that are predominantly green can be very difficult. It can be tough to make sense of a jumble of foliage, trees, grasses and shrubs. But one thing that works for me is to start with an underpainting using almost any color other than green.

I blocked in the colors loosely on the surface with the sides of soft pastels on a white Richeson Premium Pastel Surface. I tried to keep the shapes big, and to think about value as well as which areas are in sunlight and which in shadow so that my color temperatures were accurate even in the early stages.

Then I washed each color section with turpenoid, using an old synthetic brush and trying to keep my colors clean and separate. I dried the surface with a hair dryer.

Next I began moving into realistic color, using greens, yellow-greens, blue-greens, and so on, paying attention to the value pattern I established on the underpainting.

Back Road, 16x20 pastel, ©Maggie Price
As the painting moved towards completion, more and more greens were worked into the composition, but I tried to retain some of the colors of the underpainting as well. The result is far more exciting color than if I had begun the painting with greens. The variations in color help create depth, interesting shadows, and brilliant light. This painting is 95% completed; it's in my "holding area," where I will look at it over a period of weeks to determine if any further changes are necessary.

No comments:

Post a Comment