Thursday, March 14, 2013

Party Palms

Diane Mannion, 40 Party Palms, 8x10" o/c

Named this Party Palms because the they dance like crazy when the wind blows.
Started as a demo while teaching landscape painting yesterday in a classroom.  The main idea was how to paint GREEN, a color many, including myself have trouble with.  Also... because we live in Florida it's important to know how to paint palm trees without them looking like toilet bowl brushes.

We worked from my photo reference, redesigned, and made scribble thumbnail sketches.  Next we began the underpainting and massing with a red spectrum color which would be green's compliment.  The idea was to let some of this color show through in the finish to add sparkle, visual interest, and unify the image.
Reference Photo

Went wild with my underpainting to show how far color can be pushed.  Started with permanent rose massing for the trees and Indian yellow for the sky.  Was too busy teaching and forgot to photograph the very first stage but below is how it looked by at the end of a three hour class.  Between lecturing and visiting each easel, I didn't have much time to paint... almost impossible to focus.  And a bird flew into the room which caused lots of chaos, arm flapping, and sweater waving... but Bob managed to catch and release the poor thing and we watched it fly happily away. 
 Party Palm underpainting

Some GREEN painting tips:

"It's not easy being green." - Kermit the Frog

"The secret of green is orange and violet is the friend." - Richard Mckinley
"Balance greens with mauves." - Albert Handell
*Until you can mix natural looking greens... avoid greens out of the tube, especially thalos and viridian!
*Natural green is not simply yellow and blue but has other colors added.  Start with pepper flake additions on the edge of your yellow/blue mixture on the palette.  Experiment by adding bits of permanent rose OR burnt sienna OR purple.
*Don't darken green with black.  Hate to make this a rule... black, especially Gamblin's Chromatic black might work fine in some circumstances... but use with extreme care.
*Tree shadows can be created by introducing any red spectrum color.
*Viridian is garish and artificial but looks fine when mixed with other colors... pepper flake bits, not huge globs!
*Warm greens.  Cadmium yellow and ultramarine blue.
*Cool greens. Lemon yellow and thalo or cerulean blue.
*Use transparent red oxide, transparent red earth, or burnt sienna, transparent orange, etc for underpainting greens... AND ALLOW BITS OF THIS TO SHOW THROUGH FOLIAGE.
*Get wild with the underpainting, use party colors like permanent rose, magenta, Indian yellow, purple, violets.  Let bits of these colors show through the final foliage.  Adds lots of zip and vibrancy!

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