Enhancing Nature’s Impact with Complementary Colors

"Aspen Trees, Vertical Sketch", Karen Gillis Taylor

“Aspen Trees, Vertical Sketch”, Karen Gillis Taylor

Have you ever looked back at a painting you made earlier and realized you like a certain portion of it enough to make a new painting in a new way? That’s what is happening here for me. Fall comes earlier in the high Colorado mountains around Vail. You can see the yellow, orange and gold aspen right in town, or as you drive through the Vail Valley. This sketch came out of time spent in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

The darker colors of the palette are muted tones that serve as a more neutral foil for the brilliant hues in the lighter end of the color value scale. The near-black tree and shadow shapes seem to come alive as they twist and turn, while the 3 dark trees in the upper background tower over the scene. The figure provides a sense of scale. The glory of nature makes me feel very small in the mountains, awestruck.

The blue/violet hue is complementary to the yellows and oranges here. It seems to enhance the scene with a bit of unexpected accent, placed mainly within dark tones for a more subtle effect than if right next to the yellows and oranges.

I’m excited to paint with this palette as summer comes to an end. Painting this scene will transport me back to the hills. I can almost smell the fireplaces of Vail sending the pine scent across the town as the evening chill settles in. Let’s paint this one big!

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4 Responses to “Enhancing Nature’s Impact with Complementary Colors”

  1. ashleyquinnstyle Says:

    Love it Karen!


  2. Pernell The Artist Says:

    Very soft, warm and inviting! Great work!


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