I love the way the colors show off on sunny days. We get the variations of how a color appears in sunlight and shade, which makes for wonderful harmonies of warm and cool relationships. But what about cloudy days?
I admit I'm usually not thrilled to find the clouds have rolled in and look like they're going to dominate, but I know there's much to be learned by painting under this circumstance. First off, color is far more grayed and subtle. Value separations are much closer, and shapes don't jump out with interesting patterns to improvise with, as they do on sunny days. Painting must have some kind of contrast for it to become interesting. On a gray day we have to look more closely for these interesting contrasts. Lacking the modeling of light and shade, form is reduced to silhouettes with enough value difference to play against each other by overlap. The edges of shapes are softer adding a bit of mystery to the mood, but if we're not careful to rightly relate their qualities of hardness and incident they will drain the vitality right out of a painting. I usually try to push the temperature differences of the colors a bit to add contrast since values can be so close as to make it difficult to distinguish one thing from another.
Every now and then, I will get something nice and moody with enough contrast to make it interesting to me. The exercise of making such close distinction of contrasts in value, color, texture, edges and shapes is well worth the effort, as it does sharpen our observation skill, but I still look forward to the sun ruling over the landscape.
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
8X6 oil on canvas panel
subjective realist landscape paintings