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Greens and Sky Demo:  Page 1

The color green is one of the most difficult to master when painting nature.
This series of photographs demonstrates a number of important
concepts that make the sky recede in space and greens in a painting
appear natural and in proper perspective.


Proceed to Greens and Sky Demo:  Page 2
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I use a pastel pencil (usually an earth tone or color that is naturally in the landscape) to
make a simple sketch of the scene to be painted.
For a bright sunlit sky on a dry (not humid) day, I use a combination of equal parts of
Ultramarine Blue and Phthalo Blue (Winsor Newton Brand) plus white for the upper one
third of the sky.
In order to appear to recede, the middle sky must appear lighter and warmer in color.  If
one just adds white to the upper sky mixture, the middle sky looks lighter, but not warmer
and actually takes on a chalky look.  To counter the chalky effect of adding white, I add a
tiny amount of Viridian Green (like just a dot!) to my upper sky mixture as I add the
white.  The result is a "warmer" and lighter sky in the middle third.
End of Sky Portion of Demo:

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Near the horizon, the sky lightens even more and takes on a grayish quality.  To achieve
this, I add more white, and I add a dot of cadmium yellow light and a dot of alizarin crimson
to the middle mixture.  In essence, this is adding an orange (the complementary color of
blue) to the sky mixture to dull the sense of blue near the horizon in the bottom one third
of the sky.  

In the above example, the changes are slight to give a smooth transition and keep the sky
blue and bright.  One can "push" the amounts of warming and graying additions, and white,
added to the original sky mixture for dramatic effects.
Image 1:  Sketching the Scene
Image 2:  The Upper Sky
Image 3:  The Middle Sky
Image 4:  The Lower Sky