20 x 24 oil commission
I was asked by the school where I taught art for the last 13 years (before my recent retirement) to do a painting for the front office. So, I decided to do a painting of the school (you can see the red rectangle near the horizon line.) Like many schools built in the late 60's it hasn't won awards for architectural creativity, although it often wins for academics, but it's location can't be beat. Colorado Springs is located in one of the most beautiful places in the country: right at the foot of Pikes Peak. Not only does Holmes Middle School look out at the Peak, but it's also right by the Garden of the Gods. Who could ask for a more beautiful place to work! My classroom was in the back building and I looked out at these bluffs. One beautiful fall morning, I hiked behind the school, through the bluffs, to the highest overlook and took photos.
I was really pleased with the foreground and background, but struggled with the colors of the center fall foliage. I felt they were too intense. I took the painting to my Tuesday class with Martha Mans for a critique. She immediately told me my colors were "spring" not "fall". That made so much sense. I'd been mixing cools, cad yellow lemon and alizaron. I scraped the trees and bushes off, pre-mixed warm/fall colors and repainted the area with much better results. I should have realized that. It's like painting the sky: a morning sky is cool, like the atmosphere; an evening sky is warm, like the atmosphere. Spring foliage is cool, like the season; fall foliage is warm, like the season. I now realize that was what I was thinking about the willows in the painting the other day. They're cool/purple/spring and could have been warm/orange/fall. I'm going to chalk this up to my not painting much in the fall when I was teaching, and not to my inability to see light and color!! More joys of retirement.