Friday, April 15, 2011

Olsen's Yard, November

The newest larger landscape. It's of a friend's yard in Wakefield, RI, painted from photographs I took a couple of autumns ago. I'm loving the 4' X 2' panoramic format and have prepared quite a few canvases at those dimensions.

This is the first larger painting to try to deal with my new obsession: the subtle dimensional color of scrub plants, such as you see along highways, vacant lots and yard verges. The original point of this picture was the way the vivid yellow of those last few leaves provided a sort of depth-cueing for the subtler tones of the wood. I approached this by trying to build up paint and scrape it back repeatedly to add an organic dimension to color. The paint ended up being really thick, at least for me.

I was surprised when, midway through the painting, I realized that the broken lawn-chair was going to have to be a focus. Otherwise, the picture would become too "floaty" and oddly flat. It serves the same purpose as the little yellow flower in the blue Jacobs Point image. It's a little jarring, but the picture sort of revolves around it.

I was also surprised by how, at the end when I was adding the yellow leaves, I didn't have to use the very vivid yellow paint I'd planned. I'd been adding violet tones throughout the image since the beginning, in order to provide an optical contrast for the eventual leaves, and figured I'd be using cadmium yellow light for the bulk of them. As it turned out, cadmium was too intense and I had to tone it back to yellow ochre plus white with just a touch of cadmium in places.

1 comment:

  1. This canvas is extraordinary! The play of the complicated and rich colors of the fallen leaves and the richness of the background thicket and trees takes some of the more difficult landscape elements to paint and makes them such a visual asset. It just works!