Posts Tagged ‘Vibrant Viburnum’

En plein air – Taking a closer look

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Plein-air subjects don’t have to be “wide-screen,” capturing an entire landscape view.  I’ve found that it can be just as satisfying to take a closer look at a more limited subject.  Like this viburnum twig I found on a very misty morning.

"Vibrant Viburnum" by Charlotte Mertz (6"x6" watercolor, #180905w)

“Vibrant Viburnum” by Charlotte Mertz
(6″x6″ watercolor, #180905w)

The early morning light was diffuse, not providing the strong contrasts I had been hoping for.  But the berries were glowing against a darker, nondescript background, and I saw an opportunity to paint the translucence of the leaves and berries that were catching the light from behind.  I simplified the background and focused solely on a single twig to depict the essence of that momentary pleasure.

I took artistic license by manufacturing my own value contrast with the background to make the most of the subject.  Using blends of the same colors throughout, I also incorporated temperature contrasts between the subject and its background by selecting warm colors for the subject and limiting the background to cooler mixtures.