Tami sunrise is another painting using a photograph of a backlit sunrise as a reference.
I like the way the dark shapes in the photograph describe the negative spaces between tree branches and the structure of the tree. To begin the painting I washed a blue grey color onto the canvas and painted the dark shapes with a mixture of burnt umber and geranium lake to get a dark maroon color.
I then came in with a Prussian blue mixture to give a higher contrast to the limbs to better delineate some of the spaces. Departing from the photograph, but in keeping with the idea of trees and foliage, I added a terre verte layer of green shapes as though the layer had been cut from a stencil. I concentrated upon the central portion of the painting, keeping the edges cool and dark. I looked at a neon photo shopped image of the same photograph that highlighted the foliage of the image in red.
The area at the bottom of the picture was especially bright and yellow. I liked the movement which reminded me of tree roots. Thinking in this flat, planar manner changed my treatment of the painting tothat of a Japanese woodcut, having layers of color separate and unblended.
The yellow root section was layed down and although I knew it would not coordinate with the dark shapes in the rest of the painting, I wanted to see how it would influence the direction of the paint so I added it anyway. It looked completely disjointed, but I liked the perkiness of the yellow, so I softened it into the green foliage along the bottom of the painting. I also added some small mostly vertical marks suggestive of branches in the background surrounding the trees. With the idea of obscuring the image and then bringing it back, I mixed up some of the background colors of the pale maroon and gray and came back between the spaces to give a sense of backward and forward movement between background and foreground. I wanted to bring back some of the space seen in the original blue photograph, so I mixed up some of the grey sky color – some with manganese blue and warm white, some with manganese and cool white, and applied it to the upper rightt and middle portions of the painting. I softened the edges of the color fields in the upper rightt hand corner of the tree branches and added in some more of the Prussian blue on top of the dark umber and geranium lake areas. The painting needed to breathe a bit more. The areas of warm and cool sky were increased with additions of warm and cool white touched with the manganese blue. I used this light color running off of the right edge of the painting. When I showed the piece to Jackson, he had several suggestions: come back in with a viridian green, break up the flatness of the tree trunk, vary the small brushstrokes at the top left of the painting.
To break up the flatness of the dark tree trunk I used Indian Yellow in areas that looked as though sun might be hitting them. I then molded some of the area with viridian and touched up some of the foliage area at the top of the painting with a mixture of viridian and terre verte. The painting had taken on the look of a landscape in snow rather than a sunrise and I wanted to enhance that. In critique the painting was described as graphic and the method of separating the layers of color was discussed as being a tactic the Impressionists used in their experimentation with painting light.