Kyle Buckland’s easel set up along Beaver Dam Creek

Kyle Buckland recently painted along Beaver Dam Creek in the Backbone Rock National Forest in Tennessee and had to adjust his usual bright palette of colors in response to the gray, overcast  scene. He explains his versatile handling of oil colors here.
Another view of Buckland’s painting in progress

“After a short climb down the step-like rocks, I was treated to a wonderful display of grays tinged with salmon and green tones, accompanied by the exhilarating roar that is made only by a mountain stream rushing swiftly along in early spring,” says Tennessee artist Kyle Buckland. “The day was overcast but seasonally warm, and it felt good to be out of the dusty confines of the studio and painting in the open air.”
Buckland’s finished plein air painting

Buckland explains, “My standard palette consists of some very bright primary colors, (permanent rose, cadmium red medium, cadmium yellow light, phthalocyanine blue, and ultramarine blue), augmented with three much more neutral equivalents of the primaries ( burnt sienna, yellow ochre, ivory black) plus titanium white. I use these three earth tones to keep my brighter colors in check when painting a scene with so much gray in it. For example, the greens in the water were modified with the addition of yellow ochre, black, and a small amount of phthalocyanine blue. And to add coolness, I mixed in a little cadmium yellow that added warmth to the greens. I did essentially the same thing with the salmon colors in the rocks, starting with a combination of burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and a touch of black. If I wanted that color mixture to pop a bit, I added a neutral orange made from a combination of cadmium red and cadmium yellow. With these kinds of adjustments, my palette is versatile enough for almost any color scheme, from the loudest, most vibrant subjects to the more subtle tones of a gray day or and quiet nocturne.” For more information, visit


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