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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sky Color and The Autumn Landscape

'Autumn Reverie'        8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $125
Skies are important. Since it is the source of light it sets the tone and mood of the painting. It determines the time of day and quality of the light. Is it bright, warm and sunny? Is it cool, moody and gray? Is it stormy? We have so many choices for painting the sky and each choice will create a unique reality.

Painting the autumn sky is fun but can be a bit tricky. The bright warm colors of fall foliage make such a statement. All of those brilliant reds, oranges and yellows can easily overpower a landscape painting. The sky shouldn't compete with the autumn show!  Here are some ideas for effective autumn sky color:

  • I love a quiet moody sky for an autumn landscape. Think about using dull neutral colors in lighter values. A pale gray violet sky or gray blue sky works well with the intense foliage colors.(see painting above)
  • Try using complements for the sky color. A brilliant blue sky with orange trees is spectacular and really creates a sunny mood. Try a lavender sky for a soft moody contest with yellow trees.
  • Avoid colors that might clash with the foliage color. For example it is tricky to use pink in the sky with fall foliage. I have always avoided it but I recently saw a sky in New Mexico with cotton candy pink clouds and orange/ yellow trees. I plan to paint them and try to make it work. (stay tuned)
  • I usually like colors in the sky to be echoed somewhere in the landscape. Keep this idea in mind as you choose colors.
  • Busy fall foliage works well with a quiet and simple sky. Remember that the viewer's eye needs somewhere to rest.


robertsloan2art said...

Beautiful paintings! I liked that cold muted sky in the first one, reminded me of here. There are so many days with clouds, either spectacular combinations or just overcast but the hue varies so much. The bright blue one with red trees made me grin, that just cheered me up! I love that kind of brilliant color.

Robert Hopkins said...

Excellent work Karen! I am so glad to have found you. I will enjoy reading your blog and watching your videos. Thanks for posting everything online. A true inspiration!