Green and Red Color Studies

Light Green and Quinacridone Burnt Orange

Tiptoe- April Tulip Poplars by Carol Hicks
Tiptoe- April Tulip Poplars
16x20 inches - Cradled Hardboard Panel

This painting is on exhibit as part of the Crossroads Art Center's "Summer in the Garden, Flowers, Creatures & Bugs...OH MY!" at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA from June 1 through August 31, 2022 and online at garden-lewis-ginter-botanical-garden.

The inspiration for "Tiptoe - April Tulip Poplar" was a reference photo I took early one morning during the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge April Birding festival. I had never seen the common yellowthroat warbler before and thought with its mask, it might have a name like yellow bandit. I was familiar with Tulip Poplar trees, which are very common on the East Coast. The wild trees range from Nova Scotia to Florida and often grow near rivers. They are fast growing trees that can easily grow 100 to 200 feet tall and can live to be 200 or more years old. Sometimes people miss seeing the flowers because they are so far above their heads! The trees can be identified in autumn or winter after the leaves fall and their seed pods or samaras drift down, looking a little like helicopter blades. The clue for me is their unusual leaf structure with a long stem that allows them to flutter in the air easily. As often happens when you focus on an image, you begin to see it everywhere. While painting, I was often seeing Tulip Poplars driving around my neighborhood or chancing upon photos of the blooms on Facebook.

Color mix for leaves
A. Light Green (Yellow Shade), Quinacridone Burnt Orange, and Hooker's Green
B. Mixtures of Light Green and Quinacridone Burnt Orange

After my experiments earlier this year mixing red (Quinacridone Crimson) with Green (Hooker's Green Hue Permanent, Phthalocyanine Green), I thought this painting would be a good place to apply what I had learned. The photo reference showed the bright spring greens in sunlight and shade. This time I mixed Light Green (Yellow Shade) with Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Cadmium Yellow Light to get the variation in color on the brighter leaves. As the leaves got darker, I added Hooker's Green to the mix. I also wanted to show different stages of blooming from the greenish-blue opening blooms to the yellowish-green color of the open blooms. I like to add an element to symbolize our modern life and not suggest pristine nature. Here I added a jet like a small hornet to the scene.

Links of Interest:

Cross Roads Art Center