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Birth of a (Green) Painting

"Stalwart Tree" 24x24 acrylic

I am working on a series of landscape paintings for an upcoming show at Cleveland Botanical Garden, specifically tree paintings, that I refer to as my Specimen Series. The challenge with this particular painting is the fact that it is primarily green. Green paintings don't sell! I have evidence of this as I look over all of my unsold work! Still, I can't get enough of green. I LOVE green and consider it a neutral color. If you look at the finished painting (right), you will see the color of the grass. That color, perhaps slightly darker, THAT color is the green to avoid! So why do I continue to use this color? What is that...kelly green? I suppose it's because I love a challenge. If I can make THAT green work in a painting, then perhaps I have solved the riddle.

I like to start a painting by getting all the major shapes in using certain colors that will highlight whatever the finished color will be. Most times it's a complimentary color or something very close. Medium Magenta is always nice as a backdrop to green trees or skies. There's something about seeing bits and pieces of that color popping through the paint that makes the subject radiate! Other times a complimentary color adds a certain richness to the final layers of color, as in the grass area. I chose Diarylide Yellow as the underpainting for the tree itself. I knew I would create the tree in more of an olive/orange and wanted to use the underpainting in yellow as a way to push the glowing effect of the tree. It almost has a halo of Diarylide Yellow.

Now how is it possible I would allow myself to create another green painting? Green has so many depths to it that I don't seem to find in any other color - or maybe I haven't experimented enough to understand other colors the way I do green. In the end, I am happy with my "Stalwart Tree", with the two moving circles cut with a horizon line and two planes. Please visit Cleveland Botanical Garden during the month of June to view this and other landscape paintings.

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