Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Painting the Morning Mist

What is it about mornings on the lake? Waking to the call of the loon, watching the mist rise off the lake as you wrap your hands around a steaming mug of coffee anticipating the day's adventures. A paddle to the far end of the lake? a swim? a hike to the rookery or perhaps to the waterfalls? The whole day lies ahead of you, but for those first few moments of the morning you give yourself over to those ethereal wisps lifting off the water, slowly exposing the lake, the trees, the land.
Two weeks ago I came across a photo that my husband had taken of the morning mist rising off of the lake. Trees, rocks, loons and water were swathed in a fog which was slowly burning off in the morning sun. Not much color, or form, but lots of atmosphere. I chose watercolor as my medium. Using the photo as reference, I began to paint using lots of water and letting all of my edges diffuse and flow into each other. A paper towel came in handy to blot excess water and color. I had chosen a few different greens and blues, a bit of yellow here and there, but was unsatisfied with my results. I wanted to feel as if I was in the middle of the mist viewing the scene in front of me. I began to experiment a bit more with color adding pinks and a bit more yellow. It worked! Although the overall palette is subdued to convey the misty atmosphere, the warmth of the pinks and yellows created the push/pull effect. Or in other words, the warm colors came forward, the cooler colors receded, creating movement in an otherwise very still scene. The veils of warm color seem to be on a different plane than the cooler colors which adds dimension to the painting, making the viewer feel as if they are a part of the scene. When the paint was dry, I painted in the bare tree branches to create a bit of definition and contrast.

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