The Charcoal Drawing
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.