I started this landscape the other day. Jerome and I painted in this spot for about two hours or so before the light shifted. I was looking toward the sun and it moved from my left to right. The fastest changing light was on the large tree. Once the light on the tree changed, I concentrated on adjusting the drawing and color of the background mountains.
Below is a photo of the block in. I did this part as quickly as I could. At this stage I am just trying to get the drawing roughed in and start to adjust the values of the masses in relationship to each other.
Frank Gardner © 2009
Below is a photo of the painting as it was when we wrapped up to move on to another location. Notice how much the light on that large tree has changed from one photo to the next.
Frank Gardner © 2009
Today I had a chance to work on the painting some more while I was at my gallery. I took a lot of photos along the way so I could share some of them here and talk about a few of the adjustments that I made.
If this blow by blow is going to bore you, feel free to just scroll down to the bottom to see how I left the painting when I closed up shop for lunch. However, I hope there are several of you who will be interested in seeing and reading about how I went about making some changes.
A priority for me is that I want to maintain the freshness of the on the spot brushwork. So, to try and keep as much of the good stuff as possible, I really take some time and think about what the most important changes should be before starting to make any adjustments. Most of the color is pretty accurate for a start, but there are a lot of subtle colors out there, and in this case, the best way to get them is to layer more color on top of what I started with and let the eye blend them.
Below is a picture of how the painting looked before I did any retouching on it.
(a) Frank Gardner © 2009
One main issue I want to tackle is the width of the large tree, so I put a few spots of color down to mark that adjustment (b). I also want to move the three trees on the right side of the middle ground. I think they will give a better balance to the piece as a whole if I shift them slightly to the right. I thought it might be interesting to show how I used a light touch to do that, so there are before (a), during (b), and after (c) shots where you can see how I mark in the new trunks. Then I lightly paint over the old ones. I am beginning to build up some broken brushwork there, and you wont even be able to notice that they were shifted by the time the painting is done.
(b) Frank Gardner © 2009
(c) Frank Gardner © 2009
(d) Frank Gardner © 2009
Another rather important adjustment I wanted to make was to shrink the size of one of the distant trees. It is right at the base of the mountain just about in the middle of the painting ( to the right of the large tree ). In (c) it is rather large, and you can see in (d) that I reduced it by about half it's size and moved it slightly lower and to the left. I think it gives the illusion of depth better by being a bit smaller than what I had painted at first glance. On the spot you can stare at something so long that it becomes bigger than it really is.
I also started to add some light purple tones into the mountain side, and that begins to even them out a bit.
One element of the scene that I really liked was a patch of light green grass in the middle of the freshly plowed black earth. (There is a guide wire to a electric pole that comes down there and they could not plow through it.) It broke up the large area of dirt nicely.
I had been thinking about introducing a few sheep into that area to give added interest and a foreground element. Some sheep were wandering around while we painted and that is what gave me the idea.
I painted in 5 sheep initially (e). I really liked the way the two on the right came out, so it was kind of hard to wipe them off. I thought it was too much and they were drawing me to the right too much so maybe just three would look better. I wiped them off while they were still wet because I wanted to keep the fresh blocked in look of the field. I can always paint them back in later if I decide that I liked it better with 5. I am starting to add in some darks into the field as well. That black dirt turns up some hard clumps when plowed and I want to get a bit of that in the foreground without going overboard.
(e) Frank Gardner © 2009
(f) Frank Gardner © 2009
This is how I left off for now. I have a few things in mind, but I don't want to overdo it. I'll probably wait a day or two before I do any more painting on this one.
I also took some close up shots of how I went about painting the sheep. Check back in a day or two to see those. Too much loaded into this post already.
Thanks for reading!