My second painting was also from an old photo and on a resurfaced Pastelbord with the same gold-tone liquid primer. It’s a photo of my mother’s back yard, taken in March before the grass turned green. The early morning sun comes through the trees and hits the brambles and sides of the trees in the back of the yard and I’ve taken any number of photos of this over the years. (The house was sold in 2014, so this has some sentimental value.) Like the heron painting, I had tried drawing the trees to determine the composition and had had problems with it. This time, I just loosely drew the trees onto the board with charcoal. I decided to make one important change by bringing the tree on the left that curves off the left to the foreground, in order the break up the line.
I did not want to lose the gold surface, so for this one, I began by defining the trees with three values of Girault grayed violet, then added a light turquoise in the sky and other colors to define the bushes and grassy area. Note that what was in the photo was a lawn, much like what you see in the “initial layers of pastel”. It was really boring!
I began to get excited about this piece when I picked up a relatively soft blue violet and started adding it to the trees. This really perked them up. One tree was noticeable warmer and I used red violets and browns on it. I worked on the large trunks, correcting from my original sketchy beginning. Then I finished off the sky behind them with more turquoise and a light Ludwig orange over that on the right side. Then I added in the small branches, keeping them very loose.
I had fun doing the background bushes and brambles and the more distant trees within them that were catching the light. The background trees and field also were fun to do. Because the light was coming from the upper right, they were light but cool in tone. So I got all that done and then was faced with the lawn!
Having used blue violet, I realized that yellow orange was what was needed and that a field would be far superior to dull green grass! So i rather quickly added it. I added some darks in, then went over them, trying to give a pattern. There was also a hint of a path showing and I decided to emphasize that by adding the more yellow tones, that could have resulted from light coming through the opening.
This was a fun painting to do of something I’ve always wanted to paint but couldn’t figure out how to do successfully. I find that this kind of problem solving is really fun and it helps me (and those who sometimes work with me and make suggestions) on our toes!