Sunday, October 3, 2010

Painting the fall

I am having problems with my connection tonight, and I have an early morning appointment. So tonight's post will be short. I think I will talk about adapting to the coming autumn painting. Some of you are in places where there is little autumn color, but here in New England it is a big deal. Here are some painting tips for the fall.

  • Bring all of your cold weather clothing, even if the day is warm, at the end of the day the temperature may drop rapidly and you might not want to quit because you are cold.
  • Carry as many of the cadmiums as you can. Fall color can be very bright and if you want to hit it you may find you will need cadmium orange and a couple of cad reds.
  • It can be vivid out there to the point of ridiculous. You might enjoy going after it with a restricted palette or even earth colors. I have made some pretty jarring, but accurate paintings in the fall. They looked true outdoors and too colored indoors.
  • Often it is good in the fall to drop the color and value of the sky. That lets it serve as a foil behind your highly colored trees or mountains.
  • Look for the complements, shadow colors, remaining green, and anything else that doesn't scream color. All of these will help relieve and offset the sometimes too assertive color of high fall.
  • After peak foliage I think it is better. When the black branches and some bare spots start to show through all of that color, there is more relief from the insistent brightness and often a moody, romantic end of the season look that I like. Jervis McEnteee painted this season particularly well.
  • Try to weave those oranges and reds subtly into the rest of your painting and other notes from the rest of the painting into them. This will help you avoid making a mosaic of unrelated colors.
  • Watch for all that color from the leaves to be bouncing around as reflected light. This will help unify your paintings too.
  • Study Inness, Metcalf and Cropsey, McEntee and Enneking. They all painted fall particularly well.
  • Remember hunting season, at least here, begins the first of November, If you are going to be out, then you need to wear some blaze orange and I bring a boom box. Deer don't listen to loud rock and roll. Bow hunters won't shoot you, they may be out, but they have to conserve their shots and tend to be a lot less trigger happy.

The legendary Snowcamp, a three day snow painting workshop, is scheduled for January 29th, 30th, 31st. Snowcamp will again be held at the Sunset Hill House near Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Last year we braved some cold temperatures and had a lot of laughs doing it. After a day of painting in the snow, we all meet for dinner in our private dining room and enjoy the camaraderie of the other artists. This is a total immersion experience, a refrigerated boot camp.
We can walk out the inn's backdoor, and paint the panoramic views of the Whites and if our feet get cold run back inside by the fire for hot coffee. There are great locations all over this area if we want to leave the enormous grounds of the inn. Built at the turn of the last century, the inn is charming and comfortable without being too formal. I have taught three workshops there and it is an ideal venue. They also give us a special rate. This is sacred ground for American landscape painting, Bierdstadt, McEnteee and Kensett and nearly all of the other Hudson River School artists painted here in the 1860's.


Philip Koch said...

Great Fall photos Stape! Couldn't agree more with the advice that often the post peak color is actually superior for making paintings. Autumn color at full intensity borders on freaky in real life- nature can only handle it for a week or two before knocking some of it down with a good windstorm. But afterwards, there's plenty of bright color left, and it is in wonderful contrast with the trunks and branches of the newly bare trees.

Painting after all is about mastering contrasts- intense balanced against subtle color is a big part of that.

billspaintingmn said...

Today is a beautiful fall day to paint. I can see plenty of things in my own back yard,(and front yard too!)
Your posts, and everyones comments
is an art buffet, take all you want, just eat all you take!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I wrote more about that tonight. I don't like paintings that scream.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Don't eat my apples!I am waiting for the rain to stop so I van get out and make some fall paintings.