“Shadows & Mist”
Here’s something you don’t see every winter day.
It’s common to see mist on spring and fall mornings, when cool temperatures and warm ground produce hovering mist and vapor. It’s not as common in winter, when the temperature difference between earth and air is not so great.
But today it was so! Perhaps more due to chimney smoke not able to rise easily in the very cold air, but whatever the cause, it was a magical looking landscape as the sun rose over the eastern mountains.
This scene was both a joy and a challenge to paint. The joy was in having something really different to paint. The challenge in that the mist had an effect on every thing – particularly the color, light and value.
Mist always settles in the lower areas of the landscape and ends up obscuring lower portions of mountains and hills. Capturing the transition from hillside to mist is requires distinct but soft edged shapes. In other words, lots of wet-into-wet work.
The other effect of mist is more subtle. The presence of mist in the atmosphere mutes both color and value. In the winter landscape, which already has a lack of color, the effect is to whiten and brighten most every element, and to reduce the range of value.
This painting is essentially five colors- two blues, two earth tones and a muted red, combined carefully to express the bright but muted landscape of this special winter morning!