A gray morning in the mountains

It's been a while since I have painted a studio piece of the American south, but my recent trip to the mountains has inspired me to explore the subject back home in the studio. This little mountain painting was a bit of an experiment, as I tend to shy away from painting gray days. The light is flatter, color is more "local", and values tend to be a lot closer. While I have sometimes been "forced" to paint gray days when I'm field painting, without that beautiful sunlight casting shadows across the picture plane, composing a subject of a gray dayis a challenge I too often tend to avoid. So this is a painting of facing that resistance head on.

  "Morning in Gray and Gold" Oil on Linen, 12x16"  ©Jennifer Young

"Morning in Gray and Gold" Oil on Linen, 12x16" ©Jennifer Young

It doesn't hurt, of course, that in the mountains many of the grayest days are incredibly stunning and full of quiet majesty and spectacular atmospheric effects. The sun was scarce on the first half of my painting trip, so I had plenty of opportunity to observe these effects.

This painting is based on wiper I did on site. The wiper didn't survive (which is why its known as a wiper!) but the memory did, as well as a number of photos I took of the area. This location is a birding trail I happened upon while exploring Nellysford, VA. I think those yellow flowers are goldenrod (?) They were everywhere, along with many other stunning wildflowers. The main attraction for me though, was the mist and clouds that settled on the distant mountains, with just a bit of the mountaintop peeking through. It was really something to behold.