View Full Version : Question for Larry(or anyone else)

Phyllis Rennie
11-02-2000, 08:48 PM
Considering the trees in the mountain project(Mal Dennis watercolor) that you did with red first and then green. I liked the effect and copied it. I am wondering what color you would use for the light if you were painting an oak tree at this time of year?

I was looking at them this morning in bright clear sunlight. The leaves are a deep bronze, russet, red tone and in the sunlight they have a definite "sparkle". Considering the color of the leaves, what color would you paint the "sparkle"???

The only thought I had was to use a bright greenish blue. This would mean painting with cool light/warm shadow, right? I always paint warm light/cool shadow but know some people use the opposite--it's just something I've never really been able to see. Phyl

Phyllis Rennie
11-11-2000, 09:03 PM

No thoughts on this?

11-11-2000, 09:28 PM
Well, I work in oils not watercolors, but color is color, so... What you call sparkle is either stong highlights or reflections. These are generally very light versions of the local color with perhaps some of the light source color added. Thus if your leaf is russet (meaning an orange), make a very high key (light value orange) with some yellow added (light source color). Another way to say it, is to tint your local color and at the same time move it around the color wheel toward the light source color (yellow); so you would have a very light value yellow-orange.

If you use the opposite in warmth, you'd be using the complementary color and it would likely separate from the leaf, and seem to float above it.

The real trick here is to get the correct contrast in value and saturation between the leaf color and the sparkle. There needs to be enough dark surrounding the highlights to set them off, and you might make the highlight a bit more intense than the leaf color.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Phyllis Rennie
11-13-2000, 07:11 PM
Hi DJ--thanks. That's exactly the way that I would normally do it.

It's just that I was pleased with the effect of the green/blue trees with red highlights and am theorizing that maybe I could get similar results with a red tree and blue/green highlights.

When I have time, I'll try it but right now can't start something else 'cause I have too many things happening. But I can think about it and observe the trees while I'm on the highway going to work so I thought I'd ask for opinions.

11-14-2000, 09:30 PM
Hi Phyl,
Paint what you see. Painting from a photo is so different than reality. If you see warm, russet shadows, they are probably correct for the time of day/circumstances you are painting under. Overall yes, shadows are usually cooler, BUT, they are relative to the surroundings, time of day, color of other things surrounding them. I have struggled with having to paint very warm shadows that I see, after hearing/practicing painting cooler shadows with teachers. Trust your eyes. Shadows reflect the sky, surrounding objects plus contain the inherent color they are (road, sidewalk, etc.)