Sunday, April 26, 2009

explosions of color

For our monthly paint out, the Washington Society of Landscape Painters painted at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC. This was my first visit to the Arboretum and I don't know what took me so long getting there. This is my fourth spring living in the DC area and I never discovered the place. Everywhere you turn there is a painting begging to be painted and it’s FREE.

I'm not a floral painter but as a landscape painter flowers are often element in my compositions; yet, today a flowering azalea bush became my muse. On a search for a suitable subject, I was hiking along the path in the azalea garden when I rounded the path and came upon an azalea bush that was glowing fuchsia in morning light—it stopped me in my tracks. The path before me was dappled sun puddles and the shadows were long. Going any further was pointless.

Knowing that the morning light changes quickly, I set up my kit choosing a smaller board (9x12). I began blocking in the piece and bypassed my usual underpainting because I didn't what to loose the light while the underpainting dried. The light was changing rapidly which spurred me on to paint faster.

Aside from the rapidly changing light, I was faced with the problem of not having the right value of pink for the highlights in the azalea bush. Instead, I chose a warm orange color in a similar value. Overall, I think it worked. How abut you?

If you've never been to see the azaleas in bloom, you must go and it's not too late to see them this spring.

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