• George Coll

Introduction to Fall Workshops

Between Loveland and Estes Park Colorado, nestled in the front range of the Rocky Mountains, is Sylvan Dale Ranch. This facility offers you the comforts of a western ranch setting surrounded by great places to paint. My previous students loved the dining experience and hanging out under the veranda overlooking the river. Yes, the facility is first rate but let’s talk about the changing seasons and plein air painting. Sometimes mother-nature is un-kind and when those moments occur we retreat into the ranch to finish the painting. If you are that kind of person, you are welcome to stay out there in anything nature throws at you. But for me, as the years mount up, I tend to retreat to the comfort of the ranch. Back East they call it Autumn, out here we call it Fall and do so because we sometimes get a little mixed up. For instance we can have snow in September and 70 degree days in November, December and even January. Very often we have a lot of sun providing shirt-sleeve painting weather.

Plein air painting in Fall provides us with a fleeting cascade of warm colors which is alluring but can be over stated. Colorado presents a variety of orange, yellows and reds, but they can be over stated unless they are supported by the surrounding values and tones. The best Fall paintings my students do surround the bright warms with subtle values. As the seasons move into frosty mornings I point out the beauty of simpler compositions emphasizing the gold changing to warm rust colors and richer darker greens. Painting plein air has taught me to summarize the subject matter quickly and record the changing events as efficiently as time allows. It’s a life event in which time slows down and one develops the art of seeing.

Fall at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.

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