Day Four of the White House Painting: Can Winslow Homer Help?

A few things were bothering me about this painting after last night, so before working on it again tonight, I spent some time after work rethinking my approach to the trees given the way things were turning out. I looked more closely at Winslow Homer’s Adirondack watercolors, which have a lot of large foliage masses in the background. He varies his foliage colors a lot, even when they’re generally in loosely defined shapes. This helped me get comfortable with moving forward based on what I had in place. I looked again at my reference photo and my painting, and I realized what had been troubling me. My painting was looking a little radioactive, so I decided to tone it down. In the trees I did this by darkening with a bias towards browns, reds and warmer greens to work with the cooler greens I had in place.

I have maybe two sessions left on this. I need to decide on the tree on the right (I tried to make it a forsythia bush, and darken the right side behind it, but it wasn’t working out tonight with the paints I was using–I will have to pull out my cadmium yellow I think), finish off the other trees, lay in the final shadows, and see what needs to be done when I remove the mask. I also want to try sanding to bring out some light in the background foliage because I have never done that before. This has been a very instructive effort so far.

Thanks for following along.