Monday, August 12, 2013

Aspen Dance

"Aspen Dance"
20 x 16 inches
Oils on canvas

It's only mid-August, but lately there's a definite chill in the mornings that portends of the Autumn To Come. The aspen trees in our part of Colorado haven't begun to change to gold just quite yet, but I thought I'd get a jump on painting them for the Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival next month.

This piece was a lot of fun to paint, as it's full of the one color that my red-green impaired vision sees the best: yellow.  That being said, I had a very odd thing happen.  After about five hours into painting bright leaf masses, I found that the rest of the painting was looking weirdly BLUE.  I took a half hour break, and then when I came back, everything was back to normal.  And then....the blueness came back!  It took me awhile to realize what was happening: the optical phenomenon known as "negative color afterimage". Basically, if you stare at a spot of color too intently for too long, your eyes get fatigued and when you look away, the opposite color floats around in your field of vision.  So in this case, yellow went to blue.  

Try staring at this flag for about 30 seconds, then look away at a white wall.

I'm beginning to understand why so many landscape artists dread depicting the bright greens of summer -- they would quite literally be seeing red!

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