|"Parc de La Tete d'Or in Lyon, France"|
Dappled light is the spotted light which comes through gaps in a tree canopy and produces the feeling of light and the airy, cheerful mood in a landscape and cityscape. In order for dappled light to occur, we need two conditions: bright sunny weather and the presence of deciduous trees with leaves. On a bright sunny winter day, you may have cast shadows of trees, but no dappled light. On overcast days, you don't get dappled light either.
|"Autumn Park" Demo Painting|
After drawing the design lightly with watercolor pencils, I painted the first layer of wash, starting with the sky holes with the mixture of cobalt blue and cobalt turquoise light (Winsor Newton). I let it dry first before proceeding to paint the light yellows and oranges of the big tree leaf shape. I continued blocking in the yellow green shape of the grass, the two orange shapes along the path, and the path itself with quinacridone gold. Keep everything light (value) and bright (chroma). We are painting light!
Before moving on to the second layer, I talked about how to mix greens (leaves), purples (cast shadows and dappled light on the path), and browns tree trunks and branches). Mixing greens are easy enough; add a blue to a yellow. But which blue and yellow? It depends. By mixing them with one blue at a time, I proved both yellow and blue make a difference, but it's actually yellows that seem to have a bigger impact on the results: a spring green (winsor lemon), foresty green (quinacridone gold and cadmium orange), or in-between green (cadmium yellow pale).
The bottom line is that if you want a lighter, warmer green, add more yellow and if you want a darker, cooler green, add more blue or go for a darker blue (ultramarine blue or winsor blue). When greens get dark enough, you have to switch to purples! My go-to purple mixture is that of ultramarine blue and permanent alizarin crimson.
For browns, think the complementary colors of blues and oranges/red oranges. The classic mixture is Jane's Gray (ultramarine blue and burnt sienna by Daniel Smith). You can also mix cobalt blue with burnt sienna to make a homemade sepia. Cadmium red and cobalt blue make a beautiful purplish brown. Add winsor violet to cadmium orange with enough water, you get a luminous brown (again think complementary colors)!
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