Underpainting in Blue

Maple Street, Morristown, oil on linen, 20x20 in.

In this latest painting, I tried something different, I did the underpainting in cobalt blue instead of my usual burnt umber or sienna. I had some leftover  cobalt paint on my palette that I didn’t want to go to waste, so I used it. This image lent itself well to the use of the blue as an underpainting because I wanted it to have a bit more of a cool feeling than some of the others do. Having a bright sunny day and strong shadows in the image, I wanted it to still have a sense of coldness as you would experience on a winter day. Normally, the burnt sienna sets a very warm tone early on, which is desirable in most of my paintings, particularly those that have a rainy atmosphere, they need a bit of added warmth to make them more inviting to look at. However, for a sunny painting, I don’t want to run the risk of it becoming overwhelmingly warm to the point of sweetness. The cooler tones in this one give it the sense of detachment that I want in all of my work. I dislike sentimentality and would not be happy if I got that type of feeling from the piece. The cool temperature and the contrast of the shadows provide a welcome variation from brightly lit houses, perfectly manicured lawns and sunny sidewalk.

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