Monday, April 19, 2010

Watercolor Sketch: Apple Trees en Plein Air

Apple Tree no.1, watercolor and pen
Jan Blencowe, copyright 2010

Apple Trees no. 2, watercolor and pen
Jan Blencowe copyright 2010

I certainly have spring fever and the sunny day today just aggravated my condition! These are pretty whimsical sketches and matched my mood as the sun was shining and the big white cotton ball clouds were floating by in the sky. Some days you really just need to have some fun.

Take a peek at the video below and you'll get a little tour of Bauer Park where I was sketching and a look at my new Walk Stool, a very lightweight and comfy seat, made in Sweden, perfect for working outdoors.

Painting spring can be a real challenge as I mentioned in the video and in yesterday's post. The colors can be rather unbelievable shades of pink, lavender, and yellow-green akin to the colors of cellophane grass that you stuff in Easter baskets!

Things are also tiny in spring, tiny buds, tiny flowers on trees which give a light airy effect rather like cotton candy which again produces an effect more like Pretty Pony Land than a real landscape. Just as in autumn it's generally better to hold the color in both intensity and amount down in order to create a believable scene.

Van Gogh of course is known for his saturated color, but look at his painting Fishing in Spring, below..

Notice how he reduces the color in the sky and water in favor of the yellows and greens in the tree foliage and all that yellow is nicely balanced by its complement, purple. Further, he keeps the real eye popping yellow for the tree in the front right corner, the yellow further back under the arch of the bridge has a good many dots of green placed along side the yellow to moderate both its intensity and temperature.

I can't help but also point out the masterful brushwork on the tree trunk on the left, so sensitive and expressive.

Here's yet another beautiful rendition of spring in which the intensity of color is restrained producing the light airy feel of the season without the candy colors...

John Henry Twatchman, the White Bridge, 1889

1 comment:

AutumnLeaves said...

Goodness but you do whimsical well. I think this piece is my new JB favorite!