February 8, 2014 – “First Light on the Taconics”, 7″ x 10″

First Light on the Taconics - watercolor plein air landscape by Tony ConnerNormally, I have to drive around a bit to find a good spot to paint.  Partially because I’m picky about subject matter, but because it’s winter, I have to be careful where I park the car – I neither want to get stuck or block the road.

This one, hit me within in minutes of taking off.  The first light was just touching the distant hills, while everything in the middle and foreground was still in deep shade.

A careful balance of dark to light and more to less intense helps support the theme here.  In this scene, the area with the most color intensity is the distant hills, at least initially.  I took liberty with both color and value in the painting, to create a painting that was a visual representation of what I saw.  The blue gray in the middle distance is actually not quite as dark as it really was. In this area, I substituted lower intensity color for dark value.  The foreground blues are actually a bit more intense than they appeared. The slight boost in color intensity in the foreground helps balance the intensity on the distant hills.   In  These are the types of circumstances where one must “depart from the literal” in order to create a compelling scene.