Crazy Colors

Now that I’ve added more warm pigments to my palette, I’m probably going a little overboard with using them. Today’s “quick study” — The Fallen Tree — is a case in point. I had so much fun putting reds and violets here and there, I ended up tweaking the poor painting to death.

I am happy, though, that I created a soft, hazy sort of background area. All in all, though, I know with colors, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. I began to feel like I was painting a crazy quilt of colors. Oh, well. I had fun.

My reddish-orange bushes got a bit of of control. They began as cadmium yellow, turned a bit orange, evolved to olive green, cadmium red, and back to a more orange hue. In the process of playing, I also lost a lot of the cool, dark shadows I initially had in the foreground and middle ground.

Yet even with a wildly over-done color study like this, I’m seeing new possibilities in my landscape art, a new sense of awareness, a new understanding of how to bring a bit of mood and atmosphere to my art. In this one, thatΒ mood and atmosphere seems to be scattered around a bit too much, but like a child with a new toy, I’m having lots of fun trying out new colors, practicing new techniques, and seeing what different effects I can create with warm and cool colors.

Another fun aspect of this project was playing a little more with a palette knife. I was inspired by a recent post from Chris Ludke of The Plein Air Experience.Β She wrote about using the edge of a palette knife to “scribble in” elements, and I loved the results she got. My own results didn’t come out quite as good as hers, but I did get “a feel” for how she achieves the effects she gets, and I’ll be practicing the technique more in future paintings.

All in all, although it might not look like it here, I can see that I’m really making a lot of progress. My landscapes are feeling more lively, more energetic, more promising. So, look beyond the crazy display of colors and recognize that I’m pushing myself in new directions. It’s an exciting process.


    1. Definitely having fun… I’m still practicing with my palette knife on other paintings. I seem to end up taking off more paint than I put on LOL. Practice, practice, practice!

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