View Full Version : WIP-landscape by a noobie

06-13-2013, 12:02 PM
This is my first time posting here, my first w/c landscape. I know little to nothing about w/c, and am learning a little. I became interested because of interest in plein air. I have been taking w/c crayons, pencils, and pans outside to paint. A goal for plein air is recognizable realism, and am using w/c both for studies and sketches now. After I learn how, probably for finished work. Not doing well outside, this one is imagination
Since it all needs help any thing that anyone says will be helpful and appreciated.
Goal for this one was linear and atmospheric perspective. Particularly interested in comments re the fore and middle ground.
6x9" on w/c paper


06-13-2013, 12:31 PM
Hi Ella,
I'm new to this, as well, and have yet to post any work. I'm still working out issues re: paper, masking, layering... I like your linear perspective work with the tree heights and the atmospheric work looks good, too. I have issues with detail in my foregrounds but have recently seen work by an artist who deliberately kept hers vague to move the viewer to her point of interest which was more in the middle ground. Looking at your first picture it was hard to know what to look for without knowing what you're trying to get us to see. At least it was, until you put in your wonderfully scraggly trees we see in your second shot. I like their mysterious nature and feel like they're kind of interlopers in the scene. Very cool.

M.L. Schaefer
06-13-2013, 02:09 PM
I really love your distant areas...great atmosphere, great colors, very nice. However, I find the intense colors in the foreground, without anything to "tie" them to the background is a bit jarring. The colors kind of "clash." The intense foreground colors make it difficult to see the mid ground (which could stand a bit more detail.) I am in love with the background, and your technique isn't bad, just need a bit of help with the foreground colors.

Someone more adept at landscapes can probably help you much better, since I am complete newbie to landscapes, too! As a practice I made different "cheat sheets" out of a triad...tried to mix as many greens, browns, grays, the whole bit out of just three colors, then added a few more colors just to see what they would do. Possibly if you worked with the same base colors, mixing your own greens, etc. the painting would all tie together more?:)

:heart: Margarete

06-14-2013, 01:18 PM
Rob, thanks for your comments. Man, you're thinking of papers, masking, leyaring, etc. I'm using paper that's probably 40 years old, not even thinking yet of cold or hot, textures, etc. I'm just trying to get something recognizable on paper. (It shows, doesn't it!) Eventually I'll probably get a sample pack of paper, and learn more about what is good for what kind of work. Anything you can tell might help.
I'm so glad you like the trees--I hope you still do , but the leaves are SO not the right color. My excuse:angel: I did them about 3AM!

Margarete, Thank you, too. What I did early this morning is probably causing more problem, and I'm not sure how to repair it. The leaf colors don't "kind of" clash, they're really noisy about it. I'm in the beginning stage of learning w/c, and came across a link to Jane blundell watercolorist http://www.janeblundellart.com/ w/c palette, paint triads and mixing, etc that gives mixing info. I should go use it for the leaves, too, lol.
Thanks to you both for looking and commenting.


06-14-2013, 01:20 PM
TAA-DAA --or not:(
C&C welcome and appreciated. I plan to do a little more on the leaves and on the trees, though at the moment, don't know what.


M.L. Schaefer
06-14-2013, 06:41 PM
Hey, Ella! It's looking much better...the green leaves on the tree work better with the grasses so that they are not so much "in your face!" I like how you left a path into the picture by not running the grass all along the edge...good thinking!

As I'm traveling along my landscape journey, I'm finding that deciding on a "base" color is becoming invaluable...I chose, for instance, the main green that will be the dominant green, and use that for making my mixes. Right now I'm working out a desert palette with foliage being olive tinged or sage tinged. I used my favorite tube olive (Rembrandt) and began mixing that with other colors...and have been pleased. I also decided to use another base color to mix with my browns, siennas, and even with my olive...that way they will be all somewhat tied together. I used Potter's Pink! So, soon I will bring them all together and either be surprised and pleased or totally appalled!

:heart: Margarete

06-15-2013, 05:23 AM
Hi Ella, Welcome to our forum and to watercolor. Plein-air is not always easy (is anything in watercolor???) You sound like you really want to paint in watercolor - and I will try to give you a constructive critique.
It's mainly a cool painting with a hint of warmth - good.
Your 1st painting - without trees - has a well painted cool sky and background hills and trees. The warm field is very well painted and gorgeous. The green grasses in the foreground spoil the painting as they are too harsh for the delicate work of the rest.
The 2nd painting with the addition of trees. The left and far right trees work well and are well painted. I probably would not have put the curved center right tree branch in as it detracts and gives the illusion of four trees. (Odd number of objects are always better.)
You might want to add another tree on the right near the center vertical tree. You could also soften the foreground grasses by adding clean water and gently brush a little then leave alone.
I hope this helped. You've got a fantastic start on watercolor.

06-15-2013, 08:14 AM
Welcome to the forum, Ella! :wave: Your backgrounds are great, lots of atmosphere. You have received some great advice already, and the only thing I would add is to maybe think about working with just a few colors at first. This will make it easier to achieve color harmony. It's amazing what can be done with even just one color!
For example, here is one of your paintings in just one color (hope you don't mind!):


06-15-2013, 02:13 PM
Hi, Margarete, thanks. I almost closed that "path" up! I did a little more, including adding color to the leaves-do they need more?
I've never used a "base color". I'll think about it. I'm still working at figuring out how to use the colors individually.

Hi, Jan, thanks for the welcome, and the critique. I'm absolutely surprised to find that I am enjoying the watercolors. I only did this because I was cleaning out one of those cheapie "explorer" boxes from a garage sale--one with colored pencils, water colors, oil pastels. I had w/c crayons, pencils, and a couple of kids school trays, then discovered I had 16 OTHER colors, inclluding 8 earth colors and pastels. This was the result.
Thanks for the comments on the mid ground.
Knowing why the near ground didn't look right helps. I took your suggestion re clean water and removing some color and harshness. The following photo does not show that, I read your post after taking it. It looks better, but I think it needs more darks now--shadows.
You're right-that curved branch is not appropriate. I'll leave it out of the next one! Your crit helps a lot, and thanks for your encouraging words.

Holy Cow, reikiart! What a transformation! I don't mind at all. This helps describe various areas, doesn't it. Thanks for doing that, for your suggestion of limiting the colors, and your kind words. It was the finding of the earth colors that made me attempt this. Monochromes though, can be very helpful, as you just showed.


06-15-2013, 02:36 PM
Here's this morning's version--without the softened foreground Jan suggested:
Added some darks to the tree leaves, a few birds, and a suggestion of a wolf.

Again, comments and crits appreciated and welcomed.

06-15-2013, 02:40 PM
They are very nice Ella. Love the aerial perspective and the contrast foreground to background in the second. You are doing fine.


06-15-2013, 03:12 PM
You're on track now Ella, great progression.

06-15-2013, 11:29 PM
Doug, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope this isn't a "flash in the pan!

Eric, Thank you, too. I appreciate you taking your time.