Author: LM Penner

Landscape Painting the Bold Color Way

bold color painting landscape painting light shadow tone values Feb 04, 2022


Author Leigh Penner

Often, in Bold School's art classes, you will hear the instructors speak about the concepts of tone and value. Have you ever gone for a walk among trees and noticed all the myriad shades of green in the leaves? While walking under the shelter of those trees, have you ever marveled at how the contrast between shadow and sunlight brings emphasis, variety, highlights, and interest to the pattern of the leaves? This is nature illustrating these artistic concepts. 

How To Paint a Tree:

Listening to Noemie L. Cote talk about painting landscapes reminded me of how, when I was a child, my dad tried to teach me to paint a tree. 

First, my dad told me, you draw a line for the trunk. Second, you draw lines for branches. Third, you paint the leaves. 

You had to, according to my dad, paint highlights and shadows using the direction of the sun. That meant one side of the tree would be highlighted, and one side would be shadowed. Also, the tops of the leaves would be painted with lighter colors while the bottom of the leaves would have darker, deeper tones. 

This is painting the values of color. 

At Bold School, we primarily paint portraits, but the concepts learned here can be applied to any subject matter. Once you learn the skills, you can use them to paint whatever you are passionate about. 


Image: Mer Bleue Clouds 2 by Noemie L. Cote


Need a reset?

Outside of Bold School, I am a writer. Primarily, I write novels, but recently I found myself running a little bit low on inspiration. I decided to step back from fiction, and I wrote a book about little local day trips I have taken in and near my community. I included photographs from my travels. The project took me two weeks to write and another month to edit, select the photos, and format. Last week, I sent the manuscript off to the printers. 

Not only am I completely thrilled with the result, the project also gave me exactly the right amount of time to reset and recharge my brain. Now, I am once again inspired and working on two new novels at once. 

Maybe you find yourself in the same place. The past two years have taken a toll on the creative headspace of many people. Maybe you find yourself feeling a bit uninspired at present. You don't want to stop painting, you don't want to give up the new bold color techniques you have learned, you just need a change of scenery. 

When I stepped back from writing novels to write a non-fiction work, I wasn't exactly stepping outside my wheelhouse. I wasn't walking away from any of the skills I went to school to acquire. I merely was focusing them in a different direction temporarily. If you are feeling like you need a break from painting portraits, maybe this is the exact right moment to do just that. 

Can you take the bold color techniques and skills you have learned and apply them to something new? Definitely! Will it give you a mental refresh? Well, it worked for me with my writing. Why not try it in your studio and find out!  

- Leigh 

Creativity awaits!


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