(My “On the Easel” posts give you a behind-the-scenes look at what I am working on, what went well, what went wrong, and things I learn.)
Below is Minnippi. It’s a subtle painting with cool greens and sharp black accents. I’ll run through how I painted it. There are also some wonderful student works at the end of this post.
Reference Photo and Study
Here’s the reference photo I painted from:
- Oil on Ambersand gessoboard. 18 x 24 inches.
- Main colors: Ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, cadmium yellow light, viridian green, and titanium white.
Refer to my supplies list for more details on what I use.
- The key feature of this painting is the black trees against the muted surroundings. This was the first time using black in a while. Usually, I prefer to use blues, purples, and greens instead of black, as is the Impressionist way. But there was no substitute for black in this case. It provides for that sharp value contrast and plays well into the painting’s restrained color theme.
- The other key feature is the line of light hitting the grass. It creates some interesting plays between light, shadow, and color. The bottom of the painting is full of rich greens. The top of the painting is light and muted. Dark trees join all the areas.
- I was careful when painting the trees. Black is a powerful color that can quickly make or break a painting.
- It’s easier to paint light on an overcast day like this. The cool lights play well with the way our colors mix. When we add white to a color, it makes it both lighter in value and cooler in temperature.
- The dull, simple background creates a sense of atmospheric perspective.
- Notice the subtle color variance in the foreground. This helps convey a sense of detail and activity.
Before I started this painting, I sent the reference out to newsletter subscribers to paint. Below is a showcase of what we received back. It’s fantastic to see all the different interpretations of the same scene. Great work everyone! Special shout-out to my sister, Joanna, who completed hers at work on the computer. Don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss!
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it! Feel free to share with friends. If you want more painting tips, check out my 21 Easy Ways to Improve Your Paintings ebook.
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