"Top of the Mountain"

Top of the Mountain.jpg

Winter scenes are really challenging to paint I think. Winter reduces everything down to a minimum of colors. Think about it...in the springtime, mountainsides are covered with bright green new growth on the trees and meadows are filled with blooming wild flowers. Summer is filled with deep greens. Autumn is nature blazing with wild oranges and reds. Winter is...nothing. Winter reduces nature to black and white. So winter scenes pose a problem for the painter...

How do I make Winter interesting?

This recent painting is entitled "Top of the Mountain" and it basically is a mixture of three colors: Black, blue and white. You probably can't see it in the photo, but the blue...there are areas of cool blue ("Ultramarine blue oil paint for those who care) and warm blue (Thalo blue). These really are the only two blues I use for any of my artwork. And then there are areas of each of these blues that are grayed down with just a bit of dark brown (Burnt umber). The blacks are all a mixture of the ultramarine blue and the burnt umber (I never use just raw black paint from a tube). Mixing black with the two color components allows me to vary the shade of black, because I can cool it down with a bit more of the blue or warm it up with a bit more umber. Easy, right?  

So the challenge with any winter scene is to work more careful than ever with composition and value, so it helps the eyes know exactly what to look at in what order. It also is a real challenge with very minute variations in whatever little color there is. It's a great exercise for the eye balls! 

So next week is Thanksgiving and some of you will be visiting...ASHEVILLE! Excellent choice. Please consider yourselves invited to visit my studio in the River Arts District and you can see a variety of winter paintings I have ready for adoption. :)