Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Swimming Hole

My latest painting was a plein-air piece that I started on vacation. The lake is Webster Lake in New Hampshire. My family and relatives go to spend a quiet week there and I get some more painting/drawing time in.

So, this is the view from back yard. I like this painting. The time of the day was late morning and the sun was coming over from behind my head.

After I set the plein air piece down for a couple of weeks, I decided to revisit it and see how it could be improved. There several pieces about it that I really didn't like.

A) The dark band of trees in the distance is the same value as the dark area underneath the tree. This is not possible. Due to atmospheric effect, the darker trees in the distance should contain more grey/blue.

B) The main leafy part of the tree is too flat. This was a more rounded tree, so I focused on making the shape more round using greys on the edges and brighter colors near the front.

C) The grass area and flowers in the front are too muted. I brought up the color intensity to warmer colors to bring them more to the front.

D) The tree trunk on the right is too exposed. It draws your eyes to it. Therefore, I added more leaves/brush to break up the vertical straight line.

E) The water contains two bands (blue and yellow ochre/grey). I varied the water to make it more interesting and to give it some perspective. Adding more greys to the back of the water and more yellow ochre/whites to the front help "flatten" the water and add more interest.

F) The large rock in the water in the front was darker than the shadows under the trees. I lightened up the rock a little bit and added some greys to the edges to round it off a bit. This made the rock sit better in the water. I added lightened up/greyed up the rocks behind it to send them a little farther back.

Overall, the beauty of taking classes is not to learn how to paint a particular technique, but to learn how to find the issues with your painting and fix them.

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