Monday, June 29, 2009
To add depth you need to work on your atmospheric perspective. This means the farther back your distance is colors will be less brite, less intense, will start to move into the blue/grey range. You will have less detail, less sharp edges, less focus. The eye is a magnificent machine but even it has it's limitations. Heat, moisture, airborne particles and distance will cause the eye to see less of anything the further it recedes. All you have to do now is to remember these things and practice pushing your distance in your paintings.
This painting I've done was just painted from a basic pencil thumbnail sketch I did on a scrap piece of paper with a drafting pencil. There are no color notes or actual picture to work from because I know what it will look like before I start the painting. It's a good thing to get into the habit of seeing your painting, visualising it, before you actually paint it. Then you just paint what you see in your head. The better you visualise it the better you will paint it.
Here is my pencil sketch.....
It's very simple and of no particular place. I can see my sky and tree colors as well as the foreground so this sketch is more a map of where to put my lines on my canvas. I'll add my sky working my way down to the trees. At the trees I will add some very light yellow ochre suggesting the haze you would see closer to the land.
At this point I want to add my distant mountains which will be blue. I will then add some of my "grey" mud to some white paint and then paint that into the base of the mountains to add more "atmospheric haze" to them. This gives the effect of distant mountains by the blueing of their color and hazy filtered light/color at their base....all of this adds to the illusion of distance.
Here you see the blue of the mountains blocked in. Before I leave this step I will also take a clean brush and drag just a bit of sky color along the top line of the mountains...this softens that edge...remember? Less sharp edges as they recede. My mud mix kept in a jar for later uses....What is it??? After you clean your brushes in a jar long enough you end up with a thick mud of paint at the bottom of your jar. I periodically scrape it into this jar for adding grey to my paint mixes...when I paint plein air I will use a tube of Paynes Grey but in the studio I use this leftover paint.
Now the rest of the painting is blocked in. After this I took a brush rinsed in turpentine and wiped out the paint for my trail. I then painted in a mix of white/yellow ochre and ultramarine blue for the trail.
It's all in stages. Very light or faint background work...nice mid value colors for the midground and strong darks in the foreground...much sharper detail and edges closer up and soft brushwork in the distance. Paint what your eyes can see...the exaggrate that and psuh it as far as you want to go with it. The early tendancy I think is to not push it as much so keep working at it and push a little harder each time...go lighter where you need it and darker where you need it...softer brushwork and stronger brushwork. Don't sweat it if you don't get the results you want...just start another painting and keep your mind and eye in control of that brush and paint.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I'm always amazed at how great some paintings can look from across a room while others look better the closer you get. This one is stunning as you get back and the eye can mix the colors without being bothered by the detail...much like seeing it in real life. Each time I walk into the studio this painting catches my eye even if my overhead painting lamp isn't on....when it's left on the painting looks even better.
I had a painting in a 22" x 28" frame but it was painted a while back and I thought another attempt at that size was in the cards. They had a recent canvas sale so I picked one up at that size and painted this one up to replace the older painting....a good thing too because I'm much happier with this image.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
9" X 12" Oil on canvas covered panel
a detail of the painting....
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The reference photo for this painting was taken at sunset in the small town of Los Olivos just north of here last week. When I started painting in the foreground I began to see more of a desert sunset appearing so I just went ahead and finished it off that way....low desert scrub plants and grasses. Works for me...this one really reminds me of the Mojave desert at sunset.
8" x 10" Oil on panel
Friday, June 05, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
Getting good reference photos of the Carrizo Plain in bloom has really inspired me to paint yet another scene from that area. I like painting scenes of the Mojave desert but have yet to really get out there when things are really blooming. The atmosphere of the Mojave has been what I've painted there so far. The Carrizo Plain seems to me to be about color and sky....beautiful skies out there and a lot like skies here...almost too blue to paint them. They come off looking contrived so I keep away from super blue skies. You have to look for the glitches in nature at times to form a believeable painting, hahaha.
This dirt road ran right through an area of the plain that was carpeted in beautiful gold and yellow flowers....very small flowers but formed what looked like a rolling landscape of color.
A Detail of the painting....