I no longer post to my blog, but it contains several years worth of short articles I've written regarding various painting tips, thoughts, and inspiration for pastelists and oil painters. I began the blog in 2011 simply as a resource for students I taught at my studio at the time. I stopped posting in 2018, but even though I've grown in my artistic journey since then, much of what I've shared here is still relevant, and therefore I've kept it visible for anyone who cares to skim though it.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Starting with big shapes.
Aspens in Sunlight, 10 x 8
This was my demonstration from today's class. Painting busy tree foliage can be challenging, so we worked from a black and white photo to help simplify the subject matter. This made it easier to combine similar values at the beginning stages and start with large shapes. I first created a very simplified value thumbnail sketch to work out my composition and the large shapes for the tree foliage and sky holes. The thumbnail primarily divided the scene into light and dark areas. Working first from the thumbnail, I began the painting with just two values: dark for the tree foliage and grass, and light for the sky holes and tree trunks. I used an alcohol wash to flatten out these two values so I could more easily work on top of this base layer, adjusting values as I proceeded. I then softened the edges of the foliage using a middle value and further broke up the large areas of foliage, adding a few more small sky holes and adjusting values. Since I was working from black and white reference, I decided on a color scheme beforehand which used a nice balance of warms for the highlights and cools for the shadows. This made it much easier to choose colors that made pleasing combinations rather than trying to "copy" the existing color that would've been in the color photo.
Hopefully cooler weather is around the corner to ditch the photos and get out for some plein air painting!