Friday, April 30, 2010

Evening at Great Bend

The Finished Painting

This is the time to look more and paint less. I use my mirror a lot to see what if anything, bothers me. My mirror is my best friend while I am painting.

In this final fiddling stage I made the following refinements:

1. Brightened the houses and added some shutters to their windows. Added some more telephone poles and highlighted some stones on the gravel drive.

2. Glazed with a paste of cadmium red light and white over the entire reflections to lighten them. As I said earlier, I had to paint them the same value and color as the landscape, since I had nothing to go by.

3. Added spots of water sparkles in the water to indicated a little waft of breeze.

4. Added foliage with highlights to the bushes in the rocks. Defined some larger rocks.

5. Massed more of the foreground rocks so they didn't looks so fussy. I went to my file of boulders and rocks and used them for reference.

6. Removed two rocks near the gravel path that looked somewhat like sheep.

So, I'm done and am delighted to have this painting finished for the Washington Society of Landscape Painters' summer exhibition at the University of Maryland University College in conjunction with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Great Bend, Step 14

Developing the Foreground
Before I tackled the foreground, I was bothered by the boring repetition of the trees along the bank and their reflections. They were all pretty much the same size and the spaces between the trees were uninteresting. I'm not sure I'm completely satisfied, but I will work on this problem again when I get to the fiddling stage.

I worked on the rocks in the foreground pretty much the way they were already. I tried to mass as many of them as I could and just pull out a few for emphasis. I added the scrub bushes amid the rocks, but they can use some more red at the base of them. From a distance they disappear, which is not what I intended. Probably a few more sprigs of green in and among the rocks will help. I would have put them in at this stage, but the paint was all wet and I want to do this fine work on top of dry paint.

Meanwhile, I am looking at the painting deciding what needs to be done next. I am happy with it at this point. It just needs a little fiddling here and there, as I have said. At this point, there's nothing screaming at me that it needs attention, and that is a good thing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great Bend, Step 13

Resolving the Reflections
After much painting in and wiping out and lots of measuring, the reflections are about done. I got stuck doing the houses in the painting, since I was basically working from memory and my experience. Finally I found up a newspaper section on houses for sale and was able to work from some of them for shapes and details.

When I didn't know what to do with part of a house, I painted a tree or a bush in front of it. Actually that has a good effect, because it keeps the hard lines at a minimum. The trick was to have structure to the buildings but keep all the edges soft. My brush strokes are entirely vertical.

Since I don't have anything specific in front of me, I had to make the values and colors in the reflections the same as in the middle ground. After it all dries, I will probably glaze the darks lighter and the lights darker.

By adding ripples to the area where the top of the mountain reflection met the sky reflection, this area is more integrated and believable. I will also had streaks of light reflections to indicate a some breezy water to break up the solid dark reflection of the mountain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great Bend, Step 12

Resolving the Town and Middleground

As I work my way down from the top of the mountain, I am acutely aware that the colors and values will become more vivid. Saying that the other way around, as the trees move up the mountain, they will decrease in value and become grayer. The very top of the mountain should have trees with a rosy-grayish-glow from the sky. The trees have many colors...from green to gold, to gray where the leaves have come off the branches.

Designing the position of the houses and church in the town is important. I need to have enough buildings to say "town" but not too many so that it looks like a Monopoly game. In the first photo above is my initial town design. I decided that the church steeple was too close to the center of the painting, so I have moved it to the other side, so that now the church faces the other houses. I like this a lot better. Again, this is why I can't do the reflections until I figure out where all these buildings are going to go.

I haven't gotten as far as I would have liked...the bushes and small trees next to the river are unfinished, but I'm close. Some of the houses need refinement...I'll save that for another day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Great Bend, Step 11

Refining the Middleground

Finally I have decided one house on the left side will balance all the houses in the town on the right. So I painted it in along with some deciduous trees and pines. I accented a farm area on the mountain and emphasized the land at the water's edge.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Great Bend, Step 10

Finalizing the Sky

Using the same limited palette of warm cadmium colors, I began with a mixture of white tinted with yellow to bump of the light of the setting sun. It needed an impasto effect. Then I refined some of the light streaks so they were interesting and interactive. At this point, it's all about the shapes of the light.

A red-orange glaze over the mountain where the sun sets gives the glow I am looking for.

I developed the large tree mass even more, adding some good dark accents. I also developed the other trees along the river bank.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Great Bend, Step 9

The Foreground

Still working from top to bottom, I now am able to paint the water reflecting the sky. I have made several stabs at this and made a muddy mess. I'll have to wait until it's dry to clean it up.

For the stony bank in the foreground, I laid in a medium toned gray made with the same cobalt blue and cadmium red light mixture. I then came back on top of that with a lighter tone to suggest the larger stones. That was fun! I added some darker notes and some lighter ones. I'll get to the bushy grasses later.

At this point, I can stand back from the painting and get a general idea of what the final picture will be. I squint at it and look at it in a mirror. The good news is that I like the way it is going.