Edwin C. Bertolet was running late recently for a meet-up with other plein air painters. When he arrived at the painting spot, all the parking spaces were taken. He drove around trying to find a subject to paint. He found this.

“I didn’t see this view the first time I passed it,” he recalls. “I drove around the location again and this scene jumped out at me.”

Bertolet continues, “Although a sunny morning, the air was filled with mist. The distant stand of trees on the hill were barely evident. They had a mysterious quality that was engaging. The silhouetted tree in the middle ground was my initial attraction. I realized I would be painting into the light, which meant color would be negated and a tonal approach was required; however, the grayed color would not be easy to keep harmonious and balanced. I did paint dark to light, but used a device I’ve found to be useful in cases where the atmosphere is heavy — I premixed my sky color and added a touch of it in the color mix for the far trees. That ensures the color of the veil of light is consistent. And it ensured that I didn’t make those distant trees too dark, as the mind tends to make contrasts more severe than they really are. The many levels of value provide significant depth, so I had to be careful to keep their integrity as I modeled them. Finally, a slight variation in the chroma in the foreground added more hints to the depth.”


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