In the winter 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, Ned Mueller taught students how to use color effectively in their paintings. We offer Muller's comments on student work that was completed during the workshop.
by Bob Bahr
Mueller asked for this student’s brush and began making several significant changes, explaining as he went. He blued the mountains on the left, darkening their value. The instructor then changed the shape of the mountains on the right so it would not so closely mimic the shape of the mountains on the left. He gave the trees in the middle ground a dark green so they would have something solid in which to take root. The dark green also suggested cast shadow. The trees on both sides were darkened to add contrast, and Mueller added another tree on the left away from the group, and another trunk to explain the excess foliage within the group. Next, the artist added shadow areas to the mountains with a darker blue and added grayed-down, light-green highlights to the sunlit top and side of the tree on the left. The artist cooled off the middle ground with a bluer mixture and strengthened the shape of the distant tree line. His attention then turned to the sky, which he felt was too light and lifeless. Mueller added darker areas to allow clouds to emerge from the existing sky color. This dark mixture worked well for the sky holes in the left tree’s foliage, too. After warming up the foreground with browns, simplifying what was there, the instructor cooled the middle ground on the right so it would recede. As a last, mischievous touch, he added a few rough houses with red roofs to the middle ground on the left. “Maybe it will sell if it has some houses in it,” he said, chuckling.
To read more features like this, check out the winter 2006 issue of Workshop today!