Sunday, December 12, 2010

Designed for Snow and Sun

Out a few days ago after a fresh dusting of snow, the sun, low in the sky, was shining brightly.  We were experimenting with the idea of restricted palettes as Zorn had done.  Surveying a set of restored farm buildings in their setting I set out a short palette consisting of Cad Red Middle, Yellow Ochre, and Cobalt Blue.  I wanted the warmish yellow tending Cobalt Blue for the sky and the snow reflection.  The Cad Red Middle gives some red for mixing violets and greens plus use on a red tin roof.  The yellow ochre was introduced to mute yellow, the green, and orange mixtures.  It would be used (as a high value) in some snow areas where the low sun light was directly reflected.  The yellows can be greyed with the violets.  Out of the colour wheel of possibilities this palette restricts your choices.  Here you see that I decided to move from Cad Red Light to Cad Red Middle to give me more violets even though this takes away some of the orange reds.  

Short Palette helps speed work in Plein Air

In addition to the colours shown you can add white to get tints.  This gives a large array of possibilities including muted greys. Compared to a full palette, this relative restriction speeds your colour choice decisions so you can capture the short lived light.  This is especially important here as we near the winter solstice since light is changing even faster tan normal.

Here is the painting done with this palette.

The Pigery, 11x14, Oil on Canvas

There is a host of subjects on 8th Line, a dirt road in Southern Ontario.

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