Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Grateful Notices: Chromatic Forest, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches
Private collection, Washington state
This oil was begun as a painting demonstration during my October 2014 Workshop in Marshfield MA. It is of a favorite motif, a wall of trees. For this quick start during the demonstration I opted for a very dark foreground, middle values in the trees and a lighter background.
Originally the foreground was very dark but once I got the oil back in the studio the foreground needed a lot more interest. Rather than try to represent a forest floor, I layer on the colors, moving them from left to right. I was completely unconcerned about what it should look like - the colors would carry that part of the scene if they were interesting enough. In the end, the bright reds were modulated down with the blues and greens but leaving the glow of the reds.
Once that lower part of the oil was in place with the hot reds, the upper part of the painting looked pretty dull. That's where the fun began. I decided to use arbitrary colors, unnatural choices with the purples and pinks for the foliage.
After adding ''standard' greens along with aquas and turquoise there, something began to happen that made the oil a lot more interesting.
I hit the reds in the background hard followed by the yellows and rose-pinks. The painting was almost there but something was needed in the upper right. Once the bright yellows went in (and those green tree trunks) the painting was complete. Thanks to Van Gough for the green tree trunks - a nice idea worth using again.
The end effect is a forest scene with a full range of chroma. It took a lot of moves to hold it together and make it sing. I enjoyed the process and patiently let the painting evolve over a period of about 9 months.
My big thanks to the Washington collector!