My thoughts were on tree shapes and how the weather affects perspective values as I drove up the mountain. Distant trees almost disappear into the softness as we travelled the road through some pretty thick fog this morning. As a result of the poor visibility, we had to go real slow until we got about half way up the hill and then we broke through the fog layer. Surprise! Brilliant sun greeted us, with everything sparkling and lightly frosted, which was absolutely gorgeous. We pulled into the resort and unloaded tools.
Sometimes, it is hard to figure out what to start with. When that happens I start on the first thing I see. This morning that was, sketching the first tree in simple impressionistic shapes then adding a cast a shadow. Quickly placing the rest of the trees on the wall gives me a good idea of how this will be looking.
Check Out Real Trees
When in doubt take a look at reference material. Taking a coffee break we walk outside and take a peek at a real trees on the hill before we paint any further. It is always really neat to look at the real colors of nature. The chill was noticeable and another layer of heavy fog was drifting down from above, making everything real quiet. Here is the view from the bottom of chair one where Max and I admire the hill. Winter is on the way!
Using a mixture of natural colors along with primaries, I continue to fill-out tree bodies. Colors used include burnt sienna, umber, white, and mixtures of the primaries of yellow, red and blue. I quickly add little cast shadows on the snow from the tree trunk bases, and almost instantly don’t like it. When I step back I realize that I am also not getting the depth that I want yet. Everything looks as though they are at about the same “depth of field” (the same distance away from me) so I need to do something different.
Perspective in the Trees
Starting in again working on the tree perspectives using greys and white much more boldly. Immediately we begin to see remarkable results. There is a real distance accomplished by adding greys. It is astonishing to me, how this change in value really makes the tree take a step back in space. As I add more greys I am being careful to reserve enough dark forest green shadows in each tree. I want to feel as though I can reach into the branches and touch a trunk. Using a lot more white on other groups of trees gives an occasional “frosty the snowman” surprise tree in the mix.
Are you a sharp eyed individual?
You may have noticed missing cast shadows on the foreground. The shadow lines just seemed too busy and not to serve any purpose. Thank goodness I am using wall paint latex, so I can eradicate errors easily. By the way, artist’s are allowed to change their minds.