Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Clearing Weather

After the weekend's tropical storm, the weather cleared, lickety-split. Brisk winds and drier air brought with them proof that there really is more color to the Maritimes than greys and other neutrals. The clear air makes the late autumn colors glow. Late in the afternoon, I went out to capture some of the beautiful reds that now liven up our fields, thick with bare blackberry and raspberry canes.

For this little oil, I laid down a transparent wash of Cadmium Red Light and Cadmium Yellow Deep in the foreground as a base for the field colors. Next, I killed the richness just a bit by taking those same two colors and adding a bit of white and Ultramarine Blue to them. This kept the brilliant colors from competing with my focal point, which is the sunlit end of the house on the hill. That little block of light consists of white plus just a smidgen of Cadmium Yellow Light. It doesn't take much to warm it up and to make the mixture appear even "whiter than white."

"Our House" 5x7, oil

By the way, I'm reading a new book. It is Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay. In it, the writer records her search for the origins of some common pigments that have been key in painting over the years. It's a fascinating read. Beware, though; the writer takes some authorial side-trips. Interesting at first, they become less so. The good news is, you can easily drive on, and the writer will catch up with you soon enough.

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