Thursday, December 27, 2007

Point of Rocks, step 2

Developing the background and water

point of rocks
After checking the length of the tree reflections, I realized they were to short. So I moved the water line back to shorten the distance from the bank to the top of the trees, since I definitely wanted sky reflections at the bottom of my painting. After redrawing, I began with the sky and worked my way down through the trees, and then to the yellow tree. I want this to stand out, since it is my center of interest.

Once the background trees were fairly finalized, I painted the tree reflections adjusting them where necessary. The sky reflections, including the ripples in the water, I would deal with in the next step. On the far bank I added some rocks and debris, with their accompanying reflections in the water.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Point of Rocks, step 1

The Plein Air Painting/Sketch

point of rocks
the plein air painting

point of rocks reference
a reference photo

I had never investigated the Potomac River at Point of Rocks as a painting site before, and there was a lot to absorb. I parked close to the river and found myself looking almost directly into the sun. After checking out a number of possibilities, I settled on the vibrant "yellow" tree whose tips were illuminated by the slowly sinking sun behind the hills as my center of interest.

For nearly two hours I fought the bugs. Dummy me, forgot the bug spray! Several of the little critters ended their lives trapped in the wet paint on my canvas. They really like the yellow!

It was a neat place to paint (aside from the bugs) with a train going by at least every 20 minutes. Nice sound effects!

You can see I eliminated one of the "islands" and shortened the distance between the "yellow" tree and the island. Otherwise I was fairly faithful to the scene.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, 14th and last step

Tweaking the foreground and refining other areas

Some of the little things that I did in this final step you will find hard to see on the small blog image. I changed the shape of the left-hand farm on the back hill to make the negative space more interesting and added some color to relieve the green. I reworked the shadow area on the right so that the cows, which I refined, were totally in the shadow area. I finished up the foreground by adding highlights to the ground, rocks and leaves.

I darkened the water a bit next to the shore line: both were the same value. I added some cows on the grazing plain and signed my name on the shadow side of one of the rocks.

The clever name of this new painting is "Afternoon in the Valley." You may see a larger image in the landscapes section of my website.

Next week I will start a new demo, but a smaller one.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Shawnee Valley demonstration, Step 13

Tweaking the middle ground

I thought I was done with the background, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized I wasn't! I pushed the mountains back some more and refined the houses and barns. Then I reworked the large tree on the left, AGAIN!

After developing the middle ground trees some more by adding branches and leaves, I then moved to the flat grassy plain, added some texture and some cooler colors toward the back to make the grassy plain recede. I added some rocks around the shoreline, but I may move them or add some more. As I worked my way up the hill on the right I realized the cows needed to be a tad larger. I have roughed them in again, and will finish them along with the left foreground in the next (and hopefully last) painting session.

Perhaps I'll have a title for it then.