Painting of the Week

Painting of the Week – Crabapple Trees

Backlighting Provides Beautiful Color

Backlighting Provides Beautiful Color

The beauty of fall is just starting. This photo was taken on one of my morning walks at the lake. The backlighting of the trees was amazing, in fact I raced back home to get my camera for this one. The drama of the early morning light was inspiring to paint. However, I began to dislike my first rendition of a made up pond that had a black shoreline. It was an important feature designed to reflect back the beauty of the trees, but instead made it hard to see anything else. The following morning, rain delayed my walk. In fact it rained so much there were huge puddles full of reflections in low spots on a few lawns.  After one of my “you’re the artist” conversations with myself, I took photographs of the puddles and gave myself permission to use the grass as the pond’s edge. It works for me.

Backlighting (when the light is coming from behind an object) adds magic to the connected shapes. The tree trunks in my photo appeared black as they were surrounded by light. It was fun to play with the colors of the trunks across the picture plane, making the main tree trunk the darkest. The transparency of the tree leaves glowed as they allowed the light to come through them. Water almost always looks darker than the sky, so by toning it down in color plus it’s smaller proportion, the trees remained dominant. The water shape became more of an abstract border. These show that backlighting provides beautiful color.


It’s not too late to sign up for my upcoming online workshops including my  Online Flower Painting in Watercolor class this Thursday & Friday September 10-11 from 9:30 -4:00.  I can easily email you a copy of the hand outs. This class is packed full of useful information to help you with decision making on future florals. If this isn’t a good date for you, all students get a link to move along at their own pace. You can also email in pictures for help. Sign up today!

Building Transparent Layers in Watercolor Class September 22-25 (which was rescheduled from its original April dates) now also can be taken online or in person. We have a very small “in class” group. A TV screen is provided for viewing, so you can get personal help and maintain your 6 foot distance.




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