Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Harper's Ferry, step 4

Refining the mountains, rocks and trees


I realized when I had finished the previous step, that the top lines of the mountains on the right were parallel, which I needed to correct.

I added a rocky shore line on the close right mountain and defined the rocks, particulary those in the foreground, where I was putting the rocky overlook. I didn't think the sun was shining on the trees, so I highlighted the sunny side a bit more. It was a semi-cloudy day when I did the plein air sketch, and so I am having to fabricate the sun on the trees.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Harper's Ferry, step 3

Finishing the color lay-in and more


Taking my time, I developed the trees laying in the darks first and moving to the lights. I added a rocky shore line and identified some of the trees.

Then I went on to develop the water near the left shore line. I added reflections and ripples to the water, and in some spots I added highlights.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Harper's Ferry, step 2

The color lay-in


Working from back to front, I painted the the mountains, gradually warming my colors, and darkening the shadows, carefully observing these rules of atmospheric perspective.

I moved on to the water, again working from back to front, sketching in the rocks and movement of the water along the left-hand shoreline. I wanted to get these areas done before I did the trees on the left, since the other colors and values would set the tone.

Now that I have recovered from the flu, I will lay-in the remaining areas.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Harper's Ferry, step 1

The burnt umber sketch and color lay-in

Last fall I painted a 12 x 16 color sketch at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers at Harper's Ferry. Below are two reference photos and the color sketch.




I enlarged the sketch by gridding it into quarters and transferring it onto a 22 x 28 canvas, prepared with rabbit skin glue and acrylic gesso. Since the burnt umber sketch didn't take very long, I started on the sky and some of the water. I used a reference photo from another scene as a guide for the clouds. See below.


I have sketched a rocky overlook in the lower right hand corner so that my high vantage point makes sense. I like the way it ties in with the rocks below. I have also modified the trees in the middle-ground by varying their shapes and adding trunks and limbs. The green nerf-ball tree looks ridiculous. Other than those two things, the painting will be about the same as the sketch, only larger with more detail.