Plein and Simple


St. Patrick's Day. After the parade, my daughters decided it was too hot for anything else besides a swim in their kiddie pool. So after I backed out the car, lowered the ladder, climbed the attic, found it, cleaned it, and filled it up, my eye fell on our blueberry bush (in a pot).  We bought it last year and it grew all of 3 berries, none of which we got to before the birds did. I'd been watching this thing spring back now that winter was nearly over for a few weeks now, and it's fascinating. I've never seen so many colors on one plant. I realized that now was the perfect time to capture those colors before they changed into something else. I did a quick wash over the whole thing in a warm yellow. Then I blocked in a few basic colors - cool yellow and warm yellow on the plant, then some burnt sienna and cool blue below it where the bottom of the pot was in real life.
 I don't know what made me do it, but I decided to define the area so it was more like the pot, and it got to looking like this:
 I left that part alone and started adding different shades of warm and cool blue to the leaves and buds. As I painted I realized that years ago, for school, I had drawn some buds/blooms that looked almost identical to these. I don't know if it was a blueberry bush I had drawn, but the shapes were comfortingly familiar.
 Then I put in the reds that I saw - in parts of the leaves, where they had the last remnants of their winter coloring, and in the buds, where the white parts met the blue. At this point I realized how awful that brown space looked at the bottom of the page and tried to correct it.
 Then the girls decided to stop the pool party because they were too cold and so I had to stop the painting. I think I had been painting for all of 20 minutes. When I got back inside I was really disappointed (but not surprised) that the colors were a lot paler and looked a little off. It's one of the dangers of painting in full sun, but at least I have this lovely color study to do something with later on....

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