Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Meanwhile, Back at the Lake: Creating a Mood With Color

"Twilight in Kayak Cove"

Meanwhile, Back at the Lake

Well I'm back at the lake again--ok I'm really in Windy Hill Studio. But in my heart, I'm back at the lake re-visiting some of my favorite places and times of day.

Kayak Cove is the name I've given to an area on our property where there is just enough space to launch, or beach a few kayaks. You can even fit a couple of canoes in there as well, and with the overhanging trees they are usually sheltered somewhat from the rain. 

Towards the end of the day as the sun is setting, the colors in Kayak Cove are magnificent. The rocks, trees and all other vegetation are bathed in a golden-red light. I love just sitting on the dock looking at the scene. And a couple of weeks ago I finally painted Kayak Cove.

I had some reference photos which I used for the kayaks and canoes. But after placing them (kayaks and canoes) in the scene I discarded the photo and worked mainly from memory. I really played up the reds, especially in the vegetation to portray the sort of rosy glow that everything takes on at sunset. The sunlight on the red kayak casts a rosy reflection on one of the canoes lending a purplish look to it. 

The colors in the woods are mostly warm with a few cooler tones to convey a sense of depth without being too specific with the imagery. 

And At Another Part of the Lake...

"Summer Afternoon in the Narrows"

Way down at the far end of our lake there is an area referred to as "The Narrows". If you are paddling a kayak or canoe you can go way back in to the Narrows where it becomes very shallow and weedy. In the spring the loons nest there, and if you are quiet and bring binoculars you can see the mama loon lying across the nest protecting her offspring.  In the summer you can paddle along watching herons and loons and the occasional eagle.

This image is from about half-way down the Narrows. In this beautiful setting there are usually one or two boats resting there awaiting their next expedition. I painted a version of this scene "Wooded Cove",  about 6 years ago, with a rowboat and canoe in the picture. It's hanging in the living room at camp.

The time of day in this painting is afternoon, and it is hot and sunny. My palette for this painting is different from the one above. (Twilight in Kayak Cove) The colors are muted and less contrasty, more sun-washed. The lines are less distinct, edges are soft, hazy. 

Color: Creating a Mood

The use of color and color temperature (warmness or coolness of each color) is key to setting a time of day in a painting, or a even weather condition. Morning light is usually soft. Afternoon sunlight on a clear day can be harsh. But on a warm hazy day the colors can be muted, shadows are softer and the lines look a bit fuzzy. Late in the day as the sun begins to set, colors will change, contrast occurs, lines become sharper, and shadows grow longer.
The end to another day in paradise.

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