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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sycamore Shadows

I went to Irvine Park because I got a late start and I wanted to stay close to home so that I would not have to beat traffic later in the day.  The sycamores and their shadows seemed like a striking subject to paint for me.
I have been going through a lot of iced tea this summer.  In the past, I would get so engrossed in my paintings that I would forget to drink.  I would set back from a completed painting and realize that I had not even taken a sip.
The color and shape of the sycamore trees are something I never tire of.  The shadow patterns as a contrast to the open space in the background and the vertical vs horizontal contrast between the trees and the shadows appealed to my sense of design.
The shadows and trees were the first thing to go down.  I really wanted to capture the shadows as they were when I decided to paint this subject.
I added the grass and the dirt to better define the shadows on the ground.  The complementary color contrast between the shadows and the board project a energetic feel to the painting.
Adding the lighter colors to the shadows and grass in the background were intended to accentuate the feeling of distance.
The challenge for the foliage in this painting was to strike a balance between representing the characteristics of the trees and   eliminating unnecessary detail.   
When I started this painting I wanted to capture the jewel like feel that I saw in the contrast between the shadows and the light on the ground under the trees.
All the elements were in the painting but needed to be evolved and balanced with each other to build strength between them within the painting.
Working the temperature of the color was important to the development of the painting.
Finishing the ground with the shadow and light sets up the rest of the relationships to be finished.  I want everything to relate to what I did in the foreground.
Pushing the background with the development of the furthest most tree is key to creating the feeling of distance within the painting.
Building the strength of value and color in the leaves in the tree on the left further builds balance within the painting.  
Knowing when you are done with a painting vs. knowing when the painting is done, is an important distinction.  Knowing when you are done with a painting insures you do not overwork your painting.

The finished painting 24"X32".  Soft pastel on board with pumice gel and acrylic paint.  "Sycamore Shadows"
The value shot.  It seems that the value contrast is a little flat.  It would have made a better painting if I had created more distance between the lights and darks within the painting.  With that said, this is one of my favorite paintings from my recent efforts.

The detail shot.  One of the things that I like about this painting is the quality of the mark making.  In particular the size of the marks as they go into the background of the painting really help to create a sense of distance.