Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grey-scape

"Grey-Scape" 6x4 oil on card, ©Laura Gable
We live in a basin where 3 rivers come together (the Yakima, Snake and Columbia Rivers). Because we are so low, our winter months (especially January) are spent under quite a bit of cloud cover. Temperature inversions, grey days, mist, freezing fog, hoar frost, intermittent flurries are all weather features we are now experiencing ... for over a week now and several days prior to that. Many people start to crave the brilliance we are so used to -- the star of the show which brightens our days and gives us so much to study as artists. LIGHT!! Count me among them. My new "happy light" is helping while I work here at home.

My painting friend and mentor pointed out the other day that even on cloudy days the sky is actually lighter than it is when it is full of brilliant blue. Amazing to realize this, yes, but it does make sense that light grey is lighter and brighter than the cerulean and ultramarine blue skies we crave. Yet the colors and tones of things become a bit more uniform. The value scale for these grey days is really in the middle - 2, 3 & 4 on a scale of 1-5. Missing are the bright highlights and the deep shadows. So with this in mind I painted our local hillsides and waterways from memory. I know I would do better with a photo reference, but this moody landscape is emblazoned into my psyche. It is lovely really, when you grey up every color that goes down. The yellows in the foreground were even greyed. Compared to the other colors they seem so bright. The cheat grass and other nimble brushes within the marsh take on some varied and interesting colors.

So the awareness of the day, is when I open up and really see with these two treasured eyes of mine, I can find beauty even when things are gloomy and grey. Find the mystery in the misty days.

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