|'Celebration' 12x18 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
Last night we all moaned and groaned about sky holes. "They are a pain!" " I never get them right!" "I just don't like painting them." But sky holes can make or break the success of our trees. I used to feel the same way about sky holes until I changed my attitude and slowed down. I began to enjoy them. Now I seek them out and find it oddly relaxing to paint them.
Sky holes... What are they? They are simply the negative spaces we see in the structure of the tree. They occur where there is a break in the foliage and often alongside the trunks and branches. They are not always sky color. These 'holes' are the color of whatever is behind the tree ( a bit darker value though) This could be sky but it might be other trees, mountains, water.
Here is something I try to remember when painting these sky holes:
- Stop: slow down and take your time. Rushing leads to messy skyholes that don't always make sense.
- Squint: Squinting simplifies your reference tree and allows the light areas (the sky holes) to become more obvious. Look where they occur and what shape they are. They are not always round holes or squiggles.
- Search: Find the skyholes and put them in. It is often a matter of putting in a hole, adding more foliage....and back and forth until it looks natural. It is a process. Try not to rush!
- Avoid squiggles, circles or ornaments. Ornaments occur when the sky hole value is too light or the edges are all too sharp. The marks look stuck on the tree rather than breaks in the foliage.
|Jennifur my studio cat is exhausted after a long day of classes!|
Try This: Plan to do a few studies in which you focus solely on a section of tree. Concentrate on creating believable skyholes in a small section of tree.