Three Degrees: First Wash—Setting the Tone


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Three Degrees: First Wash—Setting the Tone

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I work into the closer trees on the right; these will establish the core of the reflections in the pond. On these trees, there is more detail in the branches, but I still need to keep it loose…back to careful randomness! I work fast here, spontaneity being the key. I’m using only Davy’s Gray and Indigo Blue now. I will use only four pigments throughout this painting; I am focusing on the subtle interplay ofthese colors to achieve the mood I want.
Winter scenes obviously do not have the endless variations of color and tone as say, a spring scene would have, but it is not that simple. The effect of the subdued winter light makes it extremely important to study and recognize the subtle variations it creates in the landscape, and use these to infuse the painting with life and feeling.
Keeping it simple, adding and subtracting as I feel, I move through this phase fairly quickly.

Three Degrees first  wash

I remember in college drawing a white linen sheet draped over various interesting forms and shapes lit very deliberately from different intensities and angles. It was always a new challenge, and I liked these exercises very much. It stretched your capabilities, which I feel is essential as an artist. A white on white painting is as much perception and focus, as it is actual painting.

As I always say, in a landscape painting, the sky sets the tone for the rest of the painting, and I wanted the mood of this painting to be a cold, sunny early morning.

I used a very fluid wash of cadmium yellow and cobalt blue, adding pigment as needed. I did not overstate the colors, this would go against what I am trying to achieve for the sky, and in a broader sense, the entire painting. I move quickly in this stage, working the sky and hills in a wet wash, blending the edge of the hills and sky to get a diffused look. I let the water and pigment do their thing, and move on to the next step.