Readers of this blog might think I never do a painting without setting a challenge. Perhaps so. But isn't self-imposed challenge essential to self-guided learning? All of art theory I know comes from reading cheap art books and visiting lots of museums! Thus, the only way of improving technique is for me to take a 'reductionistic' approach (hmm, perhaps something to do with a lifetime of working in the sciences?) and practice each one of the artistic elements that more skilled artists can effortlessly incorporate into their masterpieces.
Light and Dark is one of my earlier attempts at a landscape in which I tried to obtain a sense of distance just by ever so slightly varying the tone while using the fewest colors possible. This painting uses no warm colors at all. Normally the foreground would be brought closer by adding in a touch of a warm color such as a sienna or red.
In fact, Light and Dark has only cool colors -- even the yellow is a yellow-green. Despite these limitations, the darkness of the trees in the foreground does help give them substance and a sense of proximity. The trees in the background are lighter and, though of nearly the same size as those in the front, they seem to recede just enough for a three-dimensional feel.
Light and Dark, Acrylic on canvas board, 5"x7", Not for sale