Monday, June 25, 2012

Learning as I go

Through the Aspen 51/2x8 pastel, copyright 2012

Since I wasn't able to try out my plein air set up while on vacation, I've decided to fill up my little pastel  book with studies based on photographs.  After realizing that plein air wasn't going to be possible I took many, many photos with the specific goal of using them for reference, including this one from Grand Teton National Park just south of Yellowstone.  So far I've painted five of these, learning and adjusting to the new landscapes as I work.  A new one will be posted every few days.

Using only the pastels that had been packed for the trip, a timer was set to 20 minutes to imitate the plein air experience.  Very quickly I discovered that I had packed the wrong greens.  Midwestern greens are bright, saturated and varied, while Rocky Mountain greens are far less intense.  This little aspen groove was brighter than the dominant ponderosa pines but certainly not equal to an Ohio forest.   Also, a much higher elevation means more intense sunlight and deeper shadows.  With some adjustments this one should work well as a larger piece.

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