View Full Version : Colours of a storm

05-10-2013, 07:20 AM
Acrylic on 10 x 8 canvas, and supposed to be in the Open Critique forum. Sorry mods, can you move me again, it just won't let me post there no matter which method I try. And I hope I'm not being too much of a hog, only one more thread to go from me after this one, promise.

This is inspired from a photo I took of the amazing light around me in the build-up to a storm. The greens have photographed a bit brighter than they are in real life, including the bottom left which is quite a bit darker than it looks here. I'm a total beginner so get specific, even brutal if need be :) This is a potential re-do on a bigger scale...maybe...



Dana Design
05-10-2013, 11:40 AM
You've painted the trees quite solidly but in viewing the photo, you can see the "skyholes" through the trees. That's important to give it a sense of reality. You could also try overlapping the brush on the right side of the path.

Other than that, I think you've done very well on this!

05-12-2013, 04:43 AM
Thanks for your advice Dana. I've added sky holes as suggested, but didn't alter the brush on the right, I've played around in that corner so much already that I'm scared to touch it again. Maybe I'll tackle that part some time I'm feeling braver.

I also changed the shadows a bit, altered the two tallest trees on the right, and blurred the plants where the path disappears around the corner. The colours look more realistic in this photo.


05-12-2013, 05:20 AM
Jaydub - you said be brutal if necessary! Well, IMHO this one doesn't quite work for me. The rather heavy expanse of greens rather overpowers the rest and the composition with the central path is not very interesting. I feel a higher and more distant view would work better concentrating on the developing stormy sky. Then you could get some lovely lights and darks playing across the landscape under the approaching storm.

Just an idea - and sorry to be a bit negative. This would be a start again job....I have many!!

Mike :wave:

05-12-2013, 06:42 AM
That's not brutal, or negative Mike, there's no need to apologise! It was the colours that really appealed to me in the moment I took the photo and when I got it back from the shop (yep, it was on film, years ago). I'm just mucking about with paint trying to learn, so that photo jumped out at me as a reference to try making something of. It got busier and busier in those bushes, lol, I couldn't seem to stop dabbing and blobbing.

Thanks for commenting :wave:

05-12-2013, 09:28 AM
There are some nice complementary colors working here. My only comment would be to add some sky color the distant track and trees.

Colors fade as they recede and to blue/grey the distance would create the illusion of depth in your painting. Hope that helps.


Dana Design
05-12-2013, 10:22 AM
Good advice from everyone! And it's better! AS Michael has said, colors fade as they recede and toning the distant colors down would be a good thing. However! I'd leave this and start on a new painting. It's all a learning experience and I learn from each piece I do even after all this time.

05-12-2013, 10:58 AM
Clouds/sky are difficult, and these are weakly conveying the mood of the photo.

The color gradation is ok, but the leading edge of the storm is lost, there are no distinct cloud shapes discernible.
Going over this and adding edges will be a good practice, even if you have to paint it over a dozen times.
Because it is so small, it will be a valuable teaching moment.

Take photos after each step so you can look and see when to stop, look from a distance at it, and compare it to the phot.

Paint what you see, not what you think.
Printing out the phot to 8x11 helps me immensely, as does making the photo your desktop background (if you can see it from your studio.)

Looking forward to your next post


05-13-2013, 05:24 AM
I agree about the sky needing help Greggo, but given how overboard I went with the greenery and how little faith I have in my ability at this stage, I'm happy to put this aside and try again from scratch. I'll keep your "even if you have to paint it over a dozen times" advice in mind with the next one - the small canvas was useful, but I can feel a more adventurous size coming on!

I really appreciate your comments and advice too Michael and Dana, thanks everyone.

J :wave:

05-13-2013, 08:43 AM
I think the idea is good - the powerful sky right before the storm. But the painting is weak. It lacks a strong composition - just a road going up the center of the canvas, relatively similar trees on either side, nothing to break it up. The original photo is weak, so your painting is as well. Although the original photo does clearly give the impression of storm clouds, that is very hard to see in your painting, it just looks like a dark sky. The perspective is off; your road does not look like it is leading into the painting but more like it is going straight up into the sky. Keep painting, you will get there.

05-13-2013, 11:00 AM
In order to see the actual clouds more clearly from a weak photo I often manipulate the photo in the computer. By zapping up the contrast above perfect, the values really start to pop. and all your painting needs is to see more value in the clouds. for example:




with high contrast

the high contrast phot is a bit garish, but it shows the values in the sky a little better

hope this helps