Sunday, December 11, 2016

Where to stop?

One of the most confusing aspect of painting is to know where to stop. For example, I painted the following landscape by following a tutorial from a book. In the first seating, I just painted the background with earth tones including Burnt Umber and Raw Sienna as well as the sky using Ultramarine Blue mixed with white.

On the left side is the result after second seating, where I added rough details in the grass and greenery. On the right side is the result after the third seating, where I pimped up the painting by adding enough contrast for ex. darker green values at the edge of the "supposed to be" grass field and tree lines, also the changes in the tones on mountains are more varied now. (Unfortunately both of these photos were taken at night with artificial light, resulting in deviations in true colors in the photo. The final photo at the bottom is taken in direct sunlight depicting the true colors.)


The original painting "New Mexico" by Becky Bening (included in the book "Complete Guide to Painting in Acrylics" by Lorena Kloosterboer) has more details but not necessarily so much more that I would venture to blindly copy it. My goal was to get the hang of color mixing and the process of landscape paintings.

Mixing the hues of greens/yellows for the grass and trees, different blues for the sky and mountains was a helpful learning experience. It is hard to imagine that in fact a red pigment (Cadmium Red) was used to gray out the saturated greens coming directly out of the tube. I would write a post on color mixing in near future.

Unlike portraits or still life, landscapes require a slight different approach. Its not an individual component that matters but the painting as a whole which is important. In portraits, the painting will be screwed up if you get the proportions of a single facial feature wrong, although everything else might be perfect. There is a bigger room for error in landscapes but that doesn't make it that simpler. Composition and perspective must be nailed otherwise it ends up looking flat and uninteresting.

Here is the painting after adjusting that unexpectedly bluer hill in the right side image from the comparison above (third from the right in the landscape):

Acrylics on a 24x32cm Canvas Paper
Painted in 2016
Well, now my question: Do I proceed with a fourth seating to sharpen the details and to add more contrast or leave it here?

I stopped and hanged the painting on the wall ;) Maybe later sometime I might continue adding the details.

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