Monday, June 8, 2009

Landscape Sketch Using Limited Palette by Artist K. Joann Russell


"High Desert Landscape Sketch"
5 x 8.5" acrylic on paper
Click on photo to enlarge for details

My artistic journal sketch yesterday proved to be an interesting result from a challenging limited palette of colors. After a previous painting session I had leftover paints which I usually combine to form warm and cool grays to use with fresh colors. These were the colors: a yellow ochre-raw sienna, grayed cerulean blue, grayed red violet, a yellow-orange, and white.

I started with no definite composition in mind. The only connection with the grayed colors was a subdued mood and a desire to get out in the open spaces. I started at the top with the usual sky, adding cloud buildups. I mixed a lovely purple (one of my favorite colors) and decided to use it in the distance for a landscape without knowing what to add next for elements of the landscape.

At first, as I added mixes of the colors a level terrain of field shapes developed. I wanted to bring the cerulean blue of the sky closer to the foreground so one stroke of that color later became a lake. Likewise, I did the same with the purple. I so wanted to get this landscape to bright colors that I'm accustomed to, but I had limited myself with grayed colors.

I continued to add strokes of paint colors intuitively. Finally, it was time to stop and make some sense of the landscape that resulted. It reminded me of higher distant mountains behind hillsides typical of high desert country with brown trees rather than lush evergreens where more rain falls. The lake bed of marshlands formed at the lower elevations. The contrast of water and dryness seemed to be what I was expressing with this unusual limited palette. I definitely felt the limitation!

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