Seasonal Pallets – Part 1 Autumn

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In this four-part series, I will share my choice of palettes to suit the seasons. We start off with Autumn and in issue 35 I will show you how to choose a palette for a winter scene.

The landscape of the Drakensberg is stunning all year round, but between April and May, the lush green trees transform into warm shades of red, rust and gold; and with little chance of rain the clear skies add to the splendour of nature as she shows off her true autumn colours.

Step 1:
Wet the entire sky area with a light cobalt blue and introduce a touch of cadmium yellow towards the lower horizon – carefully paint around the dwelling and stop at the horizon line.

Step 2:
While the sky area is still wet – introduce the background trees on the right with a mixture of hookers green dark and burnt sienna or Van dyck brown – paint in the orange and yellow trees using cadmium yellow and cadmium orange – darken the shade side of the trees by mixing in a touch of indigo to the original colours.

Step 3:
Add hookers green to the cadmium yellow and wash down the page into the banks of the lake – use a touch of burnt sienna on the closer banks to denote warmer colours as you get closer to the viewer.
Darken the shadow sides of the banks with Burnt sienna and a touch of indigo.

Step 4:
When the sky has dried a bit, use the side of the brush to paint the dry yellow textured Autumn trees on the left with cadmium yellow and yellow ochre and indigo for the darker shades – paint the foreground around the water with Hookers green and yellow ochre – introduce some burnt sienna for the warmer area closest to the bottom of the picture. Paint in the trunks and branches with burnt sienna and indigo while the foliage is still wet.

Step 5:
Using hookers green and van dyck brown, paint in the dark green conifer on the left hand side of the yellow tree – strengthen the darks in the trees on the right hand side to create a contrast between the trees and the building.

Stage 6:
Paint the far banks in yellow and pale green and darken the edges of the banks next to the water. Burnt sienna and indigo.

Stage 7:
Wet the water area with a pale blue to match the sky and introduce the reflection colours while the paper is still wet – let the colours run down the page to enhance the effect of the water. Paint in the reflections of the house and the trees. Give more detail in darker colours to the tree trunks, railings, windows etc. of the house.

The finished painting with the finer detail and stone walls of the cottage – the roof is left with a light blue tinge to create the contrast with the misty trees in the background. A few wind ripples are painted into the water.

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