I've just spent two months in New Zealand, painting up a storm--watch for a new gallery on the website soon! In the meantime, however, I wanted to do a post about an experiment I tried while away. Near Lake Taupo on the North Island, I took a photo of a lovely scene of a marsh, with black swans floating serenely in the water. The composition was strong and simple, and I decided to have some fun by painting it four times, changing the palette of the work each time to reflect a different season, an exercise recommended by both Richard McKinley and Elizabeth Mowry. Of course, in New Zealand they actually don't have a "real" winter with ice and snow, but this scene could have been anywhere because it had nothing identifying it as specifically South Pacific.
Below are the four paintings. Summer and winter are painted on black paper; fall and spring on white paper. It's amazing the difference a different palette makes to the mood of a scene. The summer picture was not intended to be a night scene, but when I saw the effect of the brilliant colours on the black paper, I couldn't help but think that it looked like a moonlit night in midsummer, so I added the golden orb of the moon to the sky and imagined a flood of light from it over the marsh and in the water. A fun exercise!