Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Judging distance

Beyond the Aspen, 5 1/2 x 8 pastel, copyright 2012

Staying in Grand Teton National Park, this is from a photograph was taken a short distance from the first one, just the opposite end of the same parking area.  All the trails here were roped off due to "wildlife activity", i.e. black bears with cubs.  We didn't see any of them.  

Because this one was a bit more complicated, I gave myself 30 minutes on the timer.  The greens are more appropriate, not so bright and varied.  Getting a sense of distance was the challenge here.  In Ohio one can typically see a few miles at most due to the rolling hills and trees, so it takes a big adjustment to create a big space.  Generally speaking, duller, cooler (blue) colors show distance and brighter, warmer (red/yellow) colors are used for closer objects.  The cooler grey-green of the ever present sagebrush in front presents a bit of a problem, but reddish purples in the shadows helps.

Mountains have their own set of challenges.  They dominate the landscape, yet are often far in the distance.  Deciding how much they should dominate a painting dictates both color choices and the amount of detail needed.  Undoubtably it takes a bit of practice to get the balance right.

Looking back through my old paintings before posting this one, I've discovered that this is the first time I have attempted to paint a snow capped mountain.

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