A recent plein air outing provided inspiration for a new series of paintings in which I am attempting to use more darks than has been my habit. The woods were dark, but maybe not as dark as it seems in these paintings. I find that the light and color tend to show up more provocatively when they are adjacent to deep, rich darks. It seemed easier to achieve this level of dark when starting on a board primed with transparent red oxide, and I also enjoy how the greens bounce more when bits of the red show through.
In this second piece, I used ultramarine blue in place of the Prussian blue used in the first one. But I have never been happy with the greens I get using ultramarine, and I had to rely almost exclusively on veridian for anything that wasn't a dark. The purplish tone of the ultramarine does add a nice warmth to the reflection of the sky in the water, though.
It is exciting to feel the need to push on when the ideas for new paintings pile up, when there just isn't enough time to get to them as fast as I would like; it certainly beats that listless feeling of browsing through old photos when nothing seems to spark an interest. But these dark canal paintings will have to wait a bit now, because I am off to the other side of the lake where the yellow iris are in full bloom on the swamp, and I may have only another few days in which to try to capture something of their glory.