February 1, 2014 – “Shade and Shadow, Ball Mountain Road” – 7″ x 10″

Shade and Shadow, Ball Mountain Road - watercolor plein air landscape by Tony Conner

“Simple is as simple does”, to paraphrase one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite movies.  There is little as simple as tree trunks on fields of snow. Simple shapes, a simple and limited color scheme  – simple! 

It is always important to pay attention and closely observe ones’ chosen subject – even if it is simple.  In the case of snow shadows, it is necessary to be aware of the subtle variety of color that will be found in the shade and the shadows.  Although they are generally always some color of blue,  they can be bright or dull, bluer or greener or more purple than blue.

On this particular morning, the sunlight was filtered through high, thin clouds. The shadows were blue but not either deep and dark nor very gray. The major tree trunk was catching some of the weak sunlight as was a patch of snow at the base – there was almost a spotlight effect on that part of the tree, but with less drama than is often the case. Catching the spotlight effect while maintaining the look of weak sunlight was the goal here.  Working very direct is my natural tendency, but in this case, patiently adding layers of color one over another was the way to go.

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