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You might have been wondering about what happened to my newsletter in early September. Around the time when I normally send out my newsletter, this month, I embarked on a big trip to Europe, specifically to Hungary.
The traveling went smoothly, but due to recent regulations, my husband and I had to go into house quarantine, for two weeks. We ended up staying at my aunt's house, and as a gesture of appreciation we offered to help her out with long due works around her house. Leaving me with no time to focus on painting or art.
Now that I'm out and free again, I've been painting plein air and exploring the country side, as well as taking trips to the capital city, Budapest, collecting new painting ideas and finding new painting spots. The climate and weather here in Hungary is very similar to the North East US.
So far, we had gorgeous weather with around 70 degrees temperatures during the day and cooler temps at night.
Most trees still have those deep, late summer greens, while the grasses already started to loose intensity and started to transition into more yellow ochre shades. There is an overwhelming amount of subjects all around me, waiting to be painted. I just need to figure out how to balance my time between painting and spending quality time with friends and family.
Let's go back a little bit to the subject of late summer greens. Painting a green landscape in general can be a daunting task. In the spring, we have lot's of bright yellow-greens throughout the vistas. In mid-summer those vivid greens start to take on a little bit calmer, more mature shade, and finally, late-summer those deep greens become even more muted, before they change color all together.
Besides all the other challenges of landscape painting, mixing the greens that represent the current season, time of the day and weather conditions can be tricky as well. As always, the best place to practice all those subtleties of nature is outdoors. Starting with the correct canvas preparation. For late-summer, and fall you might want to try using a stronger sienna to tone the surface. It will lend a beautiful warmth to your painting, complementing the greens, if you let some of it peak through from beneath.
As for mixing the greens, try to use more oranges and reds in green mixtures and less yellow. A great choice of blue is ultramarine, due to it's slight violet tendency. Temporarily, you could even try to substitute your cadmium yellow with yellow ochre.
Examples for late-summer mixtures:
- small amount of cad. yellow medium or deep + cad. red medium+ ultramarine blue
- yellow ochre = cad. yellow (dominant color) + small amount of cad. red + small amount of blue
- muted violet: cad. red deep + ultramarine blue (you can create cad. red deep by mixing red light with alizarine crimson)
Following paintings by Willard Metcalf are examples for a variety of summer greens.
Willard Leroy Metcalf (July 1, 1858 – March 9, 1925) was an American artist born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and later attended Académie Julian, Paris. After early figure-painting and illustration, he became prominent as a landscape painter. He was one of the Ten American Painters who in 1897 seceded from the Society of American Artists. For some years he was an instructor in the Women's Art School, Cooper Union, New York, and in the Art Students League, New York. In 1893 he became a member of the American Watercolor Society, New York. Generally associated with American Impressionism, he is also remembered for his New England landscapes and involvement with the Old Lyme Art Colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut and his influential years at the Cornish Art Colony.
Born into a working-class family, Metcalf began painting in 1874. In 1876 he opened a studio in Boston, and received a scholarship at the Boston Museum school, where he studied until 1878. In 1882 he held an exhibition at the J. Eastman Chase Gallery in Boston, the sales from which financed a study trip abroad.
He traveled and painted the European landscape for five years before his return to the States in 1888. In 1890 he opened a studio in New York, working for several years as a portrait painter, illustrator, and teacher. In the late 1890s he appears to have painted little, and his contributions to the first few exhibitions of The Ten were disappointing. At the time Metcalf led a lavish social life that included heavy drinking. During the last five years of his life he battled depression and alcoholism, but remained well respected in the art world.
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