Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Trees Looking Garish?

Last weekend I painted with a group of artists on a west Michigan farm where the trees were nearing their peak autum color. During our afternoon critique, several artists commented that they find it difficult to control fall colors in their work so they don't appear garish. I believe the answer to that is transitions created by soft edges and carefully used neutral tones between color shifts.

"Fall Color", 12 x 9" plein air oil study on canvas

The hues, in "Fall Color", above, read well and are pleasant to look at. Notice how the bright instense colors are juxtaposed with neutral hues of less intensity giving the eye a place to rest. Notice also how soft the edges are within the tree's color shapes and how they help the eye travel from one area of the tree to another.

Fall is a wonderful, albeit brief time, to paint outdoors. For those of us tired of painting summer's green the challenge of a warm autumn palette is creatively exciting and most welcome. Enjoy!

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