Standing before the rose covered arbor, I wanted the viewers to be sensing all that surrounds them. I took the time to define every leaf on the arbor, highlighted by backlight. I concentrated on cast shadows, reflective light and ultimate lights and darks. The leggy, potted geraniums in the darkest nook are reaching for needed sunlight. Annuals are thriving in their porcelain pots. The angle of intense sunlight through the picket gate casts a shadow that creates a complex maze with the linear perspective of the cobblestone walkway.
The highlighted woodwork I kept light from the beginning (no dark undertones), which helps give a stronger contrast from light to dark. I let painted areas dry so that I could work in the tiny details later without the paint being muddied. Glazes were applied over flat colors to add depth and interest.
The strong perspective, strong lighting and abundance of color all made me want to take the time to focus in on every little area. All this takes time. This is my natural tendency in painting, whether it is a landscape, a ship painting or portrait. It requires more patience to paint realistically but afterwards I find the finished product very rewarding.
I hope you enjoy taking a peek past the charming arbor into the secret gardens that await beyond the picket fence.
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