Close Values, Color Harmony

Morning Lavender, oil/panel, 30x40

The subject of this painting is pre-dawn light. This particular morning, there was a hazy and atmorspheric umbrella over my motif. The sun is not yet up, but will soon rise behind the trees. The color that is made visible in the land and in the sky is all from the approaching sunrise. The sky is always key to the color structure of a painting. The entire painting is a repetition of all the color from the sky. This morning, all the delicate sky colors; pinks, greens, lavenders, blues and some yellows were all mellow and very much in the same value space. In light such as this, nature often gives you close values with a wide range of color. Within any given shape, the value remains somewhat constant but the color is extremely varied.

This is a good example of close values and color shifts. For example, the upper band of sky is one value and moves left to right -- warm to cool to give it visual interest. The same thing happens in the vertical tree mass and to make the trees stand out I used cooler blues to depictt the very distant ridge line behind it all which suggests distance and air behind the trees. On the hill, I used an opposite strategy of using slightly warmer color on the right and cooler on the left to push that edge deeper into shadow. Also, take note of the varied brush strokes that mingles warm and cools which blends in the eye at a distance to create the illusion of light and space.

Same principle here, using warm and cool to depict all shapes but the value varies according to the objects depicted. In this case, the foliage is a vertical plane which is lower in value and the snow is a horizontal plane, reflecting all that the sky has, and is lighter in value but the warm cool relationships are maintained.

This is a detail on the far left of the tree line and serves to show that any given area is made complete -- a painting unto itself. The upper tree line has much varied color but softer in brush marks to suggest further distance in the painting. All the color principles that we spoke of are evident here as well.