Grey, grey, grey. That’s been my mantra this week In the studio as I’ve been working on a new abstract landscape.
I did some other work lately with very vibrant colors. I felt compelled to stay in a soft grey palette. But, I admit it’s hard for me because I’m often drawn to more color.
I started with an above-and-below composition, a blank space along the horizon line. I used grey-grey in the sky and grey with a slight green hue below. I liked the wash look and I was happy with the overall color. Not much composition yet.
I added a block of squares, introducing a little grey-blue. My thought had been that this would function as window. But it stayed on my easel for a number of days without suggesting what to do next. I made some paper sketches and some Photoshop sketches and didn’t like anything I came up with. And then I thought of my tree stencils, and ideas began to come together.
I blocked out an area to stencil a tree shape with the tree as a resist. I let the grey background show through the tree form and added a darker value to the background. Then I added in some looser tree forms with stencils and wetter sponge work.
Just a word about wonderful grey hues.
I almost never use grey from the jar, and almost never create grey by mixing black and white. The best studio resource I own is my detailed color wheel, which I learned to make a number of years ago as an exercise in an oil painting class. (I hated oils, so I did mine in acrylics.) The most wonderful greys and neutral tones occur when you mix across the compliments (in this work, blue plus orange) and then add either umber to deepen it, or white to go to grey tones. So much richness in the colors! And, since other parts of this work will contain blue, I know that when I mix the greys with a blue base, all the parts will speak well to each other.
I’m adding a little line work to this piece for visual texture. Almost done with the composition.
NOW IT’S TIME TO WORK ON FESTIVAL PREP!! I loaded up my car with my tent and display panels from the place I store them, and started today with washing tent parts and organizing all the “stuff” associated with an outdoor art festival. I’ll be exhibiting in three festivals October and November. This weekend is Winter Park. If you are near, I hope you’ll stop by and see the work I’ll have on display.
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