DAILY PAINTING 32 – BIRCH TREES

 

Birch Trees painted like the example in the book 50 Small Paintings, 6" x 6"
Birch Trees painted like the example in the book, 6″ x 6″

The painting above is my 32nd painting exercise from the book Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings by Mark Daniel Nelson. This lesson is about accenting with complementary colors.  Complementary colors are opposites on the color wheel. This concept is similar to the one in the previous lesson. Both lessons are about using contrasting colors for effect. This one is a just bit less dramatic.  Its harmonious blue and green color scheme is simply livened up a bit by the bright rust color which is derived from orange.

For my own example I did another Grand Canyon scene which is dominantly cool like the example.  The distant orange rock formations create the warm colored accents.

Deanna Williamson, Grand Canyon 2, 7" x 5", acrylic on canvas 2, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Grand Canyon 2, 7″ x 5″, acrylic on canvas 2, 2016, $100

I have to say that I’m very happy about the way this one turned out except for the way the orange rock formation is sitting too close to the center. This brings up three points to consider.

  • The first is that in an informally balanced composition like this you should never place an object directly in the center.
  • The second is that, even if you took the photo yourself, you may still need to tweak your composition a bit in the painting process.
  • The third is a problem with the medium: acrylics dry a shade darker. This can make “tweaking” a bit difficult because it can be hard to match the original colors. Which means you sometimes have to choose between the risk of ruining the whole thing or just leaving it alone.

I liked this painting enough to just let that little rock formation stay there in the center.

Deanna Williamson, photo of the Grand Canyon, 2015
Deanna Williamson, photo of the Grand Canyon, 2015

DAILY PAINTING 27 – SNOW SCENE

Snow Scene painted like the example in the book 50 Small Paintings
Snow Scene painted like the example in the book, 6″ x 6″

The painting above is my 27th painting exercise from the book Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings by Mark Daniel Nelson.  This is another lesson about unifying a complex scene. This time it’s done by simplifying shapes. Notice that the snow scene is divided into two simple parts: a shadowed foreground with one tree and a sunlit middle ground with only suggestions of more trees and snowy slopes.

My painting of the Grand Canyon, like the example, has a shadowed foreground and a sunlit middle ground. However, it also has another layer of depth with some distant slopes indicated by a few brush strokes.  It’s not as simplified as the example, but as you can see from my photo below I did reduce some of the detail.

Deanna Williamson, Grand Canyon 1, 5 x 7, acrylic on canvas, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Grand Canyon 1, 5 x 7, acrylic on canvas, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Photo of the Grand Canyon, 2015
Deanna Williamson, Photo of the Grand Canyon, 2015

The vastness of the Grand Canyon is impossible to capture in a photograph. We saw clouds float over the distant rock formations and drop rain showers.  Hopefully in the future I will be able to do some paintings that convey a sense of the awe I felt in this place.