Monday, September 24, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 3

The Background Color Block-In

Shawnee Valley

Starting with the sky, I gradually worked my way down to the distant mountains. For the blues in the sky, I used ultramarine at the top, then cobalt, and some thalo green at the horizon. For the clouds I used white, yellow and a pink, made from white, quinacridone red and cadmium red.

For the mountains I used a gray made from quinacridone red, thalo green, and white, deepening the value by adding more and more as I came closer. For the closest mountain, I added a tad of yellow. The distant fields are pale yellowish gray.

At this point, I am only roughing in some color as a basis for the final coats of paint. I am trying for an approximation of color and value which will be refined in the next layer at a later point.

For a medium, I am using 1 part Liquin to 1 part odorless mineral spirits (OMS).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 2

The Block-In

Shawnee Valley

The next step is to arrive at a loose value study that will be the basis for the color. I went over the lines with burnt sienna thinned with odorless mineral spirits. With a rag I wiped out the charcoal as I went along and carefully followed the lines with the diluted paint. I started at the top and worked my way down to the foreground. I shaded the larger areas with a variety of values of thinned burnt sienna. As I got closer to the foreground, I added some burnt umber to the burnt sienna for a greater value contrast.

I have made the trees and the mountains more artistic and interesting than they were in the original Shawnee Valley. I’m surprised that the painting takes on a whole new look with the addition of the foreground overlook and the pond turned into a stream.

This stage of the painting is still rough. I do not make a precise drawing where I fill in between the lines. These lines and shapes are a guide for the development of the painting. I will let it talk to me and tell me what needs to be done. The painting will develop as I work on it.

Because I will be in Annapolis for the "Paint Annapolis" event Wednesday through Sunday, the next step on Shawnee Valley will not be next Monday...maybe next Tuesday, maybe even Wednesday or as soon as I can get to it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 1

The Charcoal Drawing

Shawnee Valley

I felt that a basic problem with Shawnee Valley, besides the fact that I thought it was too small to do the scene justice, was the lack of a foreground. After searching in my file of magazine clippings of old master paintings, I came across a few that inspired me.

Essentially I added an overlook on the lower left with a tree and rocks. The tree will break into the sky, making that side of the painting more inviting. The line of the cliff gives a strong diagonal to the painting and introduces an area for interesting detail. Compositionally, this will make the painting much more dynamic.

Because of the shape of the overlook, I changed the large pond into a stream that winds gracefully through the painting and behind the overlook. This also helps move the viewer’s eye from the lower left to the right where the medium size tree serves as a stop. The viewer’s eye will then travel back into the painting on the diagonal of the hillside and back into the varied textures of the distant landscape.

Since enlarging the 14 x 20 to a 30 x 40 is approximately twice-up, I measured with a ruler a number of different dimensions on Shawnee Valley and doubled them. I added in the revisions for the foreground and developed this rough charcoal drawing on the large canvas.

Monday, September 3, 2007

First thoughts on "Shawnee Valley"

Several years ago I completed the oil painting below, called "Shawnee Valley." I began it on site in western Pennsylvania as a plein air painting and finished it in the studio using reference photos that I had taken on location. After looking at this painting these past years, I decided that I needed to make it larger and with some changes. The size didn't do the vista justice.

I am going to take you step by step through the process of revising "Shawnee Valley," which is now a 14 x 20. The new and improved Shawnee Valley will be 30 x 40.

Shawnee Valley

I plan to complete a new step every week.