Yosemite Skies | Explorations of Color

These paintings were inspired by a gorgeous sky I photographed on a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.

Here is “Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold.)”

Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

I began with an earth-toned underpainting of burnt umber, then glazed over this with a warm gold, then added more layers of color on top.

Work in Progress: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Work in Progress: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Work in Progress: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

I took the photos of this stunning location during the day, but decided to paint the sky in wild colors which became a fantasy sunset.

Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

The trees reach so high up into the open dome of the sky above!

Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

The color scheme is based around the complimentary colors of the buttery golden-yellow of the clouds and the lavender of the sky.

Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

A deeper shade of violet shows up in the trees below.

Cedar Lee painting in studio: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022

These colors feel even more vibrant alongside the pops of magenta and deep green throughout the trees.

Cedar Lee painting in studio: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022

While the trees are mostly in silhouette against the brightness of the sky, when you look closely you will see they are full of color.

Detail: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Detail: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Detail: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

The painting continues around the edges of the canvas.

Detail: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Artist Cedar Lee with painting: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

And here is Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal.)

Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

The colors in this painting are harmonious cool colors of blue and green which are near each other on the color wheel.

Again, I started with an earth-toned underpainting then built up layers of color on top.

Work in Progress: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

Although this painting is done in cool colors, they have a warm undertone, which I achieved by starting with a warm golden underpainting.

Work in Progress: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Work in Progress: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

A hint of that warm glow shows through the clouds in the top of the sky.

Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

The bright teal in the background is a loud, happy color that is not seen in nature except in tropical oceans. This color is interesting and beautiful as the background of a forest scene.

Detail: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

Pops of white sky shine through the tree branches as hundreds of tiny dots of negative space.

Detail: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

The shades of green foliage shift to violet in the darkest shadows, so dark it almost appears black.

Detail: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

Small hints of the warm earthy underpainting shine through in the many small details of the tree branches.

Detail: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Detail: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

Because of this, the painting glows.

Detail: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee
Artist Cedar Lee with painting: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal). 24″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

You may also remember my recent painting, Yosemite Sky (Orange and Blue.)

Yosemite Sky (Orange and Blue). 30″ x 24″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

All three of these paintings are unique, even though they are images of the same location and time. This shows just how powerful a tool color can be, when composing a painting.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about purchasing the originals, or if you’d like to order prints of these paintings.

Paintings by Cedar Lee: Left: Yosemite Sky (Violet and Gold). Right: Yosemite Sky (Emerald and Teal).

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