Monday, March 29, 2010

Great Bend, Step 8

Painting More Middleground

I developed the middleground some more on the right behind the town. Then I had some real fun and worked into the large tree mass on the left. I wanted to get a nice interesting shape with a variety of sky holes. I have edged the leaves with red-orange to give the feeling of bright sun shining through the leaves.

Continuing from top to bottom, I then put in some reflection of the mountain. I am trying to see how all these disparate pieces fit together. So many different shapes and values all hanging together in the glow of the sunset.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Great Bend, Step 7

Painting the Middleground

As I like to work from top to bottom and back to front, the next step was to develop the middleground. Somewhere along the line I am going to have to figure out EXACTLY which houses go where, but I'm not quite ready for that now. That is really a detail. My concern now is to establish the middleground shapes in a color and value close to where I want them to end up.

I worked in some more color on the mountain and moved down toward the water's edge. I filled in with color where the I-81 bridge had been in the center area. I then developed the silhouette of the bushes and trees along the river and the stone/sandy bank. Since I can't use the colors in the photos I have to think hard about what these colors would be, given the rosy glow of the sunset.

My main goal was to establish the value of the left-hand stand of trees. It is an important dark value that sets the tone of the rest of the painting.

I added some reflections, but I can't finalize them until I finalize the trees, land, and bushes that are being reflected.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great Bend, Step 6

Painting the Sky

First I made a pattern of brilliant white, actually white mixed with some yellow to warm it up. Following my sketch and the photo, I added streaks of warm colors made with cadmium colors. I used the cobalt to cool down some areas. I worked with vertical strokes to keep all the edges VERY soft.

Using basically the same colors, but with more cobalt blue, I moved on down into the mountains. Since the sky was wet, I could easily work the shapes together, wet in wet, keeping those edges soft as well. The front mountain has more cadmium red in it to bring it forward. The entire painting should have a glow of red and orange when I am finished.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Great Bend, Step 5

The Underpainting

I have doubled all the dimensions in the quarter-size study and transferred them onto this 24 x 30 linen canvas. I paint while I draw, so there's no line drawing as such. I fill in values as I go along. This was done with burnt sienna and burnt umber for the darker values on a warm-toned canvas.

On the left, you can see that scrubby bush and a companion a bit clearer. This is all very rough at this point...just placement of different areas with a focus on shapes and values and whether they are all working together well. It gives me an opportunity to study the painting as a whole.

I have yet to understand how artists can totally complete one area of a painting at a time. I learned to develop the whole painting...keeping all stages pretty much the same. This is what I do.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Great Bend, Step 4

Color Sketches

I put out all my colors on my palette, and worked over the underpainting. I like the glow of the sunset and the way the rosy color flows over the entire scene. I used a fairly limited palette of warm colors: lots of cadmium yellow light, cadmium red light, burnt sienna, and cobalt blue. And of course, white.

The major change that I have made is to move the town to the right. You can see in the original photos, that the town is adjacent to the large tree mass on the left. For balance sake, I need to move it so there would be something of interest on the right. As I go along, I will figure out exactly what buildings and houses will be where. I am thinking of just a few houses with a church spire rising above some trees. Perhaps on the mountain I will put some spots of reflected light from a roof or two.

I have also added trees and bushes along the bank, which previously was under the bridge and very austere.

I propped the sketch on an easel for review. After many passes by, I found one area that really jumped out at me. When my eye keeps going to one area, I can figure there's something wrong there. In this case, look carefully at the top sketch. On the left, there is a dark area of water that traps my eye. The shore line above it and the foreground shoreline form basically a mirror image. There is no flow or interest in this area. My eye definitely gets stuck here.

In the bottom sketch I have added some scrubby green bushes which soften the bottom shore line and gracefully leads your eye into the back shore line. Everything else between the two sketches is the same.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Great Bend, Step 3

The One-Quarter Size Sketch

When I was doing portraits, my routine procedure was to present two rough color sketches to the client. These were done 1/4 size so it was easy to work on them as well as to enlarge them. It was also easy to visualize what the final painting would look like.

I learned that this was a logical way to work...easy to make changes and solve design problems without investing too much time. I do this often when I am doing a large painting. In this case, I am doing a drawing in burnt sienna and burnt umber on a piece of illustration board cut to 12 x 15, dimensions 1/2 the final size, but the area is 1/4. Which is why it is called a quarter-size sketch. The final painting will be 24 x 30. All I have to do is double the dimensions to my final canvas.

Here is the preliminary drawing/sketch. Basically this is the drawing as an underpainting. My next step will be to go over this in color.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Great Bend, Step 2

First color sketch

Since I didn't have the opportunity to do a plein air sketch in Great Bend, I am having to rely on photos and memory. This will be a large painting: 24 x 30 and so I will be working from color sketches. This first one is VERY rough.

I printed out the middle two of the photos in the previous blog. I cropped and pasted them together as shown above. You can see where they join.

The big change here is the elimination of the bridge, which is I-81. I chose a sunset from a photo that I took last summer. See below:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Painting: Great Bend, Step 1

The Photography

En route to Cazenovia, New York this past October to deliver paintings to the Gallery of CNY, my husband and I drove up I-81, which in some places runs parallel to the Susquehanna River as it wends its way through Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna is the head water for the Chesapeake Bay and its origin is in New York state north of Binghamton. I-81 crosses the river at a town called Great Bend, which gets its name from the obvious great bend in the Susquehanna River. I could see places where I could take photos on our return. Which I did.

Above are photos that I took...the top two are looking back toward the town, I got a little closer for the second two, and the bottom two are looking in the opposite direction, which I wanted for additional source material.

In July and August, the Washington Society of Landscape Painters will be exhibiting paintings of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Paintings from the entire watershed will be on display at the University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, Maryland.

This paintings is for that exhibition. Finally I have started a new painting.