Twigs and Leaves

Jeff Hein painted from life using one of the larger jungle trees that he has in his studio for reference for his multi-figure painting.  He was working on the top left area of his painting, working swiftly and deliberately.  He said it was satisfying and fun for him to work the leaves in one sitting, and know that they are pretty much done as they are.  They are painted with more of a thick application on top of the warmer thinner background. I was fascinated to see that Jeff would mix his paint on his palette, squint up at the tree leaves, find his place, lay  one stroke of paint along a leaf, and then immediately go back to his palette and remix a slightly different temperature to lay another stroke of paint along that same leaf.  I asked him why he did this instead of mixing one color and laying it down where ever he saw it in multiple places; I was thinking efficiency.  He replied that there were several reasons why he preferred to paint stoke by stroke. The main reason was to reload his brush, as he wanted to have a very thick application to these leaves and build up the paint, so one stroke was just enough for the effect he was wanting to create. The other reason was that he liked to build up several temperatures in one area.  He showed me one such area, where on a leaf, he had laid down a very warm green, and then on top of that he painted a cool blueish green of the same value.  Jeff left some of the warmer green to show thru.  The leaf, then had this wonderful subtle temperature changes along its length with a much lighter highlight on one side added on afterwards. 

I love one of the twigs in the area he worked on today. I know, it’s a silly thing to be captivated by a twig.  I told Jeff and he laughed and joked that he was slaving over the leaves and here I was infatuated with a single twig.   I was astounded at the simplicity of it, and how much the illusion of it moving in space, and its small twisting growth just from a few strokes of paint with slight changes in temperature along its twiggy length.  The illusion of it was so beautifully done with such simplicity. 

Enjoy the day, and until next time, Ciao!


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