View Full Version : Uwharrie #2 - monochrome

02-18-2001, 11:42 AM
<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/lib/18-Feb-2001/Uwharrie2_WEB.jpg" border=0>
This is a monochrome that I did yesterday near Uwharrie Park in NC. I'm new to landscape painting and working in monochrome until I figure out what's going on out there with values. I would appreciate any advice, criticism or comments. Thanks!

02-18-2001, 11:47 AM
Sorry... it's oil on 8"x10" masonite.

02-18-2001, 03:14 PM
Thank you, Sandra. I agree that there could have been some definition in the foreground. What attracted me to paint it was the interlocking forms of the hills, treeline, and the mountain in the distance under a cloud-wispy sky. There were a lot of value challenges in it, most of which were too subtle for my present skill level - and there were both linear and atmospheric perspective drills as well.
In addition to your pointers,there is also a lack of unity between the sky and the landscape. I recognize it but I'm not sure how it should be resolved. This was about all I had for a two-hour alla prima. Hope to do better with more work.

Thanks again. Love your site, BTW!

02-18-2001, 06:25 PM
Woodciro, you are right. The near hills you speak of may be the tree line (it's not the best rendering I've done). I like the idea of separating the left trees from the mountain and leading in with the shadows. I may go back to this spot soon and try another. It's taking me a little getting used to working this small - but it definitely helps.

02-18-2001, 07:48 PM
I'd be curious Robert if you used umber and blue..with white?

Also...I'm wondering if you are the same Robert that has joined our Plein air group with Deborah of late? If so...welcome here and there!

Monochrome offers many benefits in structure of composition, Robert...however, color can sometime create that "ah-HAH!" that this piece seems to lack.

The "ah-HAH!" is that which I use to describe the central purpose/motivation for which the scene grabs the artist by the jugular and screams, "PAINT ME!!!!"

It has to of course appear first interesting to the artist before it will appear interesting to the viewer. I want to know when I look at a work, that sense of why the artist painted it. Unfortunately...monochromatic pieces demand more value contrasts to project that sense of interest. The spirit of a landscape, on the other hand...can be transmitted nearly upon the dynamics and dramatics of color alone.

As it stands...it seems too passive. Too horizontal, with planes not nearly broken up enough. As a monochromatic, it seems some darker darks are needed, and lighter lights, but especially something that is a stronger vertical. On the other hand, it may work more as you would have hoped in color.


"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!" Edgar Degas

02-19-2001, 12:10 AM
Robert - this is great! Value studies are a terrific way to learn about creating the feeling of depth. You have achieved this through having strong tonal value contrasts in front, fading towards the distant mountain.

A way to emphasise this depth would be to include some detail or texture at the front as well. It looks just a little blank - perhaps some grasses or stones?

One thing I would just ask is what is this painting about? It's not really clear what the focal point is. When you set out to paint this scene - what was it that attracted you to this particular spot? Can you find a way to emphasise that bit?

Overall a good study. Well done.



02-19-2001, 07:20 AM
Thanks for your comments, Iseiler. The reason I'm doing monochrome is because I'm still trying to work out form, value and paint application challenges. I've been drawing a long time but just started painting last year. I jumped into color before I understood the impact of color temperature and value on effect. I was making a lot of mistakes. So, I've put every color away except ultramarine blue, cadmium red and titanium white. For the time being I've decided to "work" in monochrome and "study" color. Eventually - maybe in a year or so - I'll move back into color. I hope I have a better sense of it when I do.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to post here and look for advice on form, value, composition and paint handling - especially of edges.
BTW, I did join Debbie's group! I'm still a student but I intend to continue and put together a body of work in the next three years. All advice is welcome.

02-19-2001, 10:53 AM
another monochromatic series of color for you to try is umber and blue with white.

Well...good for you. You have a sense of what you need to do for yourself. My challenge for you would be to squint your eyes more when looking at a scene on location, and determine more the essential lights and darks, and squint your eyes while working on your own painting to see if that same drama plays itself out. Nice to have you here!


The Artsmentor

"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!" Edgar Degas