Take the Sky (and Upend it onto the Earth)

blue sky with green earth both flattened vertically on the painting surface

Take the sky and upend it onto the earth

How do we generally look at a landscape? The land rolls out in front of us and the sky lifts up from the horizon way off in the distance.

A simple painting of that could be: the bottom half of the canvas would be green and the top half of the canvas would be blue.

Consider this on a painting: the land is fully, from the bottom to the top, covering the canvas. It’s a gorgeous green field fully covering the canvas. The painting is a green square.

And on the same painting, consider that the sky is fully, bottom to top, covering the canvas. It’s a gorgeous, ultimarine blue sky that is covering the green field.

What you have now is a blue square covering a green square.

Saying it creatively, I’ve literally placed the sky over the land and I’ve opened the sky up here and there so that the land can peek through. In this painting, the sky and the land are one.

Blue Wall Tan Wall (or, color is all around us)

wall colors remain neutral at this specific daylight hour

specific time of day throws a light that changes the tan wall to a blue wall

What light can do. Truly, it’s amazing. Never underestimate it and never ignore it when you’re painting.

I was visiting my brother in South Carolina. He had mentioned to me how the interior walls of his house get light throughout the day and that he couldn’t believe the effects it created.

And how right he is; take a look at these pictures. Both face his stairwell; one in the afternoon and one the next morning. To the left of the stairwell and out of the picture is an entryway with walls lifting all the way up to the second floor in an open cathedral ceiling design. There is a sky light way up there and plenty of room for light to bounce around in.

The first photo is a lesson in basic neutral tones. Depending on where the light’s hitting, the walls go from dark to light. Really sit with them for a minute, though, and see how the gradation from dark to light is so beautifully precise it’s almost scientific. And the more you look at them the more you see how the three wall sections really define themselves by these tones.

Now let’s go to the bottom picture, with the blue wall at the top. That blue is real. I did nothing but get my morning coffee, gasp when I saw that color, and then click the photo. That’s the effect morning light has in my brother’s hallway.

So, the next time you are convinced that the color in a painting is absolutely fake, think about that blue. Artists take liberties, for sure, but nature is just as poetic.