Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wildflower Garden in Denmark


"Wildflower Garden in Denmark"-12x16, oil on linen

A few years back, my husband and I took a trip to Denmark to visit my husband's relatives and celebrate the birthday of a cousin. We had a wonderful time and were able to go back in time and trace my husband's history, which included a dad who was a stowaway on a boat out of Copenhagen headed for America many, many years ago. The stowaway dad was discovered at Ellis Island, became a merchant marine, and the rest is history for our family!

The Scandinavian cousin took us on a wonderful tour while we were there, and today I pulled out the pictures I had taken from the trip. This one caught my eye:

I recall the moment I spied this beautiful wildflower garden. We had just come over a bridge where there was a castle-like structure with a swan in the water and some red -timbered buildings with thatched roofs to the left of us... Sorry, I can't recall the name of that particular village in Denmark, but if anyone knows of it, I'd love to have a name attached to my painting!

At the foot of that bridge was this incredible wildflower garden, and although I was not a painter at the time, I knew I had to try to capture the beauty of that garden with my camera! Anyway, the trip was wonderful, and I am glad that although I was using a pretty lousy camera at the time, I was able to translate my memories of the moment into a painting!

The light temperature in Denmark is very, very different from where I now live. See how cool and grayish the light temperature is! I always kind of chuckle whenever I look at the beautiful paintings of fellow daily painter Rene Plein Air, because I know he is painting true to the light temperature in the Netherlands. If Rene ever comes to Florida he'd better be prepared for a road to Damascus moment! Because the light here is really blinding!

Compare the photo of the wildflower garden in Denmark with this beach scene in Southwest Florida and you'll see what I mean. If you have no idea what I'm talking about. look at the sky color, which is the source of light in all landscapes:
See how strong the light source is in the Florida scene compared to the wildflower gardenin Denmark?

Since everything in a painting is affected by the temperature of the light, it is imperative to get the sky temperature perfect when painting a landscape that will hopefully depict the character of the scene. Although I usually don't like to paint scenes that lack contrast and have a limited value range, I really wanted to do this one. I cooled all my colors considerably from what I would typically do in a Florida landscape and I was happy with the outcome!

Some day it would be nice to return to Denmark and other European cities that we have visited.

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