Summer Greens

One of the toughest problems painters face in the summer months is the challenge of GREEN. Sometimes it seems as if the whole world is a sea of green, as in Paul Simon's song Kodachrome, "Give me the greens of summer; makes me think all the world's a sunny day." An upcoming lesson in my studio will (I hope) help students to tackle the challenges of "too much green" successfully.  Here are the steps in a demo that I've prepared to support the lesson, based on a photo taken of the summer field behind my friend Sandy's house.


For the scattered yellow flowers, I tried a new technique: I crushed a small amount of a vibrant yellow pastel into a dish, dissolved it in a bit of rubbing alcohol, then dipped an old toothbrush in and spattered the field.  Despite a few too-large drops, I was happy with the overall result, and once it dried it was easy to fix the areas I didn't like.  It looks more natural than hand-dotted flowers, I think.


The flock of starlings was inspired both by a flock that flew chattering by my studio as I was working, and my desire to have a balancing diagonal in the opposite direction to the main flow of the eye-path through the painting (essentially bottom left up to the barn in the upper right).  Using a dark gray pastel pencil, I started adding in the universal symbol for " flying bird": tiny v-shapes.  I kept adding, stepping back to check, adding more, smudging a few out...until I had a natural-looking flock.  I signed the piece in the bottom left (unusually for me), in red, to add another note of balance to the red barn, and named it Summer Flock.