Monday, November 26, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 12

Tweaking the sky and background

In this final phase of painting, I have to decide which parts are OK and which parts need work. For right now, I think the sky is OK, but I have four clouds about the same size retreating into the distance, which I might change later. First to the more troubling spots.

The background mountains were bothering me...they didn't make good sense. Last month I returned to the site in Pennsylvania and took more photos to explain the ridges, the buildings and the trees. With clearer information, I redid a lot of the background. The houses are now the right size, and the transition from middle ground to background is more gradual. I lightened some shadows and cooled some lights.

Then I tackled the tree. I didn't like the foliage: it was harsh and ugly. I painted over it with thin sky color and reworked the foliage into the wet paint. It is now soft and airy, but I can't go any further on it since it is so wet. It needs sky holes and shadow accents under a few limbs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 11

Painting the foreground


First I redid the transition area in the lower right hand corner so that your eye would not go off the painting to the right. I added some more rocks in a variety of sizes plus two fence posts for scale.

Then I moved leftward and developed the shapes of the rocks and boulders in the shadow areas and then moved on up the hillside to the areas in light. I added some bushes and may even add more.

I am still drawing and auditioning shapes, as to where they look good and add to the overall picture. I will make sure that these bushes and rocks are all interesting, not funny looking. Rocks and clouds can take on shapes that can remind you of most anything. One of the rocks started to look like an old Chevy. Many times they'll look like dead animals or potatoes!

At this stage, I have covered the underpainting with a reasonable representation of what the finished painting will look like. From now on it is tweaking, refining, adding dark accents and highlights. There probably is no part of the painting that is entirely finished.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 10

Painting the remainder of the middle ground


Still working back to front I finished the smaller trees on the right and the bushes along the edge of the stream. I added grassy areas where the cows will graze.

Then I worked into the lower right-hand corner developing a higher vantage point on the right. I refined the rocks and boulders and then added the cows, using some reference photos. The important thing now is that they are the right size.

After stepping back from the painting, I realize that the lower right-hand corner bothers me with the funnel-shaped path splitting in opposite directions. I will revise this so that your eye stays in the painting and doesn't go out the right side, like it does now. I will blend those areas together so that there's a gentle slope down to where the front cow is grazing.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 9

Painting the right-hand trees, mid-ground grasses, and water


The right-hand tree evolved into two trees, and designing them artistically was my major focus. While I was doing the trees, I also needed to do the background behind them as I use the light color of the grassy plain to help define the tree shapes. They still need more visible limbs and branches, which I will take care of the final steps.

I painted the sandy bank and water, with reflections of the sky, trees, bushes, and the sandy bank using vertical strokes to make them look watery. A few horizontal light strokes show slight ripples in the water. After painting the water, I added the middle-ground grasses, giving them depth and shape with shadows and highlights.