• George Coll

Painting Aspen Autumn Foliage

Welcome to my blog on oil painting aspen trees in fall colors. Yesterday morning I had the privilege of walking among aspen trees in their glorious peak autumn colors of yellow, gold and red. There was just a light breeze and lots of bright sunlight. It was as if time stood still. Our Colorado Fall aspen season is very brief so we have to get out there in mid to late September.

Here are two essentials in capturing Fall colors in Colorado. The first is composition. I find my students concentrating too much on filling the canvas with just aspen trees. A painting can be too much of one thing causing the viewer to be blasted by one continuous repetition. I find the old tried and true composition methods of Edgar Payne (Composition of Outdoor Painting) pay off. For example, using other shapes, such as vertical darks found in pine trees accentuate the bright aspens gold’s and reds. Direct the viewer to the main object of interest using shapes, values (darks and lights) and balance. Don’t over state the obvious.

The second essential is to really look at what you are painting. In this case the aspen tree is not just one bright color or value. The trees have something in common with clouds. Most clouds have dark under bellies and so do aspen. I start by applying thin paint to describe the dark shape of the whole canopy. After that I apply the lighter values colors on top of the darks, making sure I don’t loose all of the darks. This step requires thicker paint. Again, over stating the obvious will diminish your work of art.

Good luck and get out there and paint.

Keep painting

George Coll

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