Summer Shade

Summer Shade, oil/panel, 18x24

This is a painting of an area that I've become quite fond of. What I was attracted to here, as I often am, is the visual tangle, the dancing play of light and the reflection on the water. What also caught my eye was the sunlit portion of the bridge which lends itself to a high value with great opportunity for mingling color and temperature to create the brilliant sensation of light striking the bridge.

A couple of years ago I wiped out a failed painting and it left a magenta mess on the gessoed surface. I wanted to try something a little different for me. I chose to paint a predominantly dark and green painting over this magenta field knowing that it would create, instantly, an exciting visual. In this detail, look past all the brush work, you can see the magenta stain that I started with.

What makes this detail interesting, other than the fact that it looks like a very well painted pair of undies, is the interplay of warm and cool color notes that optically create a sense of scintillating light. Most importantly, I needed to keep the shape of the light on the bridge with all the warm and cool variations at the same value so that the bridge stays anchored in space. The vibrancy is set up by the dark green at the top and surrounding.

This is a close-up of the four main trees. I wanted to show how suggestive my painting can be. Painting the sunlit ground plane, carves out the bases of these tree trunks, when viewed from a distance create the illusion of solidity and dimension. This is the magic that I strive for in painting. When you zoom in and look at a smaller section of it, you will see how an edge is made crisp by using broken color and values. This is the visual tangle that I find exciting and a challenge to paint.

Some more of the same thinking of painting behind and around objects to make them visible. The wall and the trees to the right and the background were all painted one darker value with warm and cool color variations that help to create atmosphere. By placing lighter values and warmer color and temperature changes create the illusion of tree trunks. The brilliant sunlight at the bottom helps to anchor and establish the ground plain, vital in keeping the wall and trees in the distance.

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