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The Middle Ground May 14, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.

Generally when painting watercolors you move from top to bottom and back to front.  I haven’t figured out how to do atmospheric perspective yet.  I haven’t been able to mix that weird, smokey blue color that washes things out far away.  So I went with near green hills instead. 

Green Hills

Before I go any further, I have to tell you a little story about green.  The basic materials list for this class calls for vermilion paint.  Vermilion is a bluish green shade that I’ve come to dislike a lot.  It’s difficult to work with as it’s very intense and unnatural as hell.  Everyone uses it and they all get unnatural, bluish-tinged trees.  And you can’t ever seem to mix it out with other colors without winding up with something even uglier.  Blech.   I had picked up some Hooker’s and sap greens and I was using those instead vowing never to touch vermilion ever again.

When I bought my Daniel Smith paints the green I went with was phthalo green (blue shade).  Yah, I was wary of that “blue shade” qualifyer, but it looked so pretty on the screen.  Once I got them home I had fun testing them out – until I got to phthalo green.  I squeezed some out and started swabbing it around and my heart sank.  It was that detestable vermilion.  Nuts.  I put it away and didn’t mess around with it again until class the next Monday.  I was grousing about it to one of the ladies that pushed me to buy better paints and she told me to play around with it and assured me that I would get to like it.  So I mushed some around on the palatte and decided to see what the quinacridone gold would do.  BAM!!  It turned that weird color into one of the prettiest and most natural green colors I’ve ever had on my palette!  It was amazing.  Mixing it with some of the other colors revealed some interesting shades too.  Needless to say I stopped trash talking phthalo green and the quinacridone gold rose very high in my favor.

So, there ya go.  The hills were done in phthalo green (bs) mixed with q. gold and shaded a bit with Payne’s grey.  I brought the green up to the tree line and faded it out.  So, that solved the middle-back part of the painting.  The hills contrast nicely with the sky, but doesn’t compete and it’s a cool color so it recedes.  It did give me another problem though.  For those four trees I had kinda had in mind a pale green color for them originally, but that wouldn’t work now with the green hills.  Hmm. 

I went back to my palette and started mixing some colors…


1. Mint - May 15, 2008

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2. Lemur King - May 15, 2008

Enas, that green pops out beautifully. Very nice mixture of sky and grass so far. Keep updating!

3. Lemur King - May 15, 2008

As to your trees, could you give them fall foliage with reds, golds, and some greens, like a deciduous tree looks when fall first starts to come on?

Did I really just use the word “deciduous”? Good grief.

4. Enas Yorl - May 15, 2008

Well, I did the reds anyway. I like “deciduous”. ‘Tis a good word.

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