View Full Version : Too much green and bad composition ?!!

06-25-2013, 11:45 AM
Did I ever mention that I hate "green" ? There are a lot of nice fotos I have taken in the sourrounding landscape, but then: Its all green, green, green -
at least in spring and summer.
I do NOT use "convenience" greens and keep trying everything to mix them in different shades and tones but still....

The second thing about this picture: I fell into an old bad habit and just copied the foto, so I believe that there is too much going on in this
landscape and I have done no composition at all.
Last but not least - the roofs in the foreground look sort of strange - I think this one is a wastebasket candidate.
But I don't wanna be a coward so I show it anyway :D

The foreground/houses/shadows at right hand side appear darker in the original.

Paper 300 g/140 lbs Centenaire, 12" x 16", colours W& N + Schmincke


Maybe I should mention that it was done very wet in the first place without preliminary sketch, painting the sky and then the background trees,
sparing out the houses, further down to middleground, where the left hand street Ends, in one go. Everything els was done in a second and third layer.

I've obviously been trying out a new technique .

C & C welcome

06-25-2013, 12:44 PM
Hey! Good work and good for you for sharing it and seeking advice! I don't think the composition is so bad. You could maybe move the houses a bit to the left (nearer to the road) to include them in the picture more. The roof line of the house facing us should maybe be more horizontal .. also, sometimes lines around the roof seem to outline it and make it stand out in a strange way. You can use a broken line or lost/found edges to make it dynamic. For the distance background, you can use faded purples to create depth - also softer edges. As the painting approaches the foreground, add darker and darker colors to create depth. Also, your greens look good! Just keep the intense greens in the foreground and middle ground. For shadows within the greens I use deep purples - it creates a nice effect.

Good work, keep it up!

06-25-2013, 03:09 PM
Hallo junge Frau, warum so pessimistisch?
Ich bin ein Grün-Fan. Wir leben in einer ausgesprochen intensiven
grünen Landschaft und die muss man entsprechend umsetzen.

Deine Basis ist bis auf ein paar Kleinigkeiten absolut hervorragend.
Persönlich würde ich nur die Grüns im Vordergrund verstärken und
die Schatten auf der Straße länger ziehen, der Hintergrund passt für
mein Gefühl. Stelle das Dach am mittleren Haus waagrecht und setze
darunter einen knackigen Schatten.

Jetzt ist der Vorder- und Hintergrund von den Tonwerten zu gleichwertig
angelegt und zeigt wenig Differenzierung in der Luftperspektive.
Alles ist mit wenigen Pinsel-Strichen geändert.

Hello young woman, why so pessimistic?
I'm a green fan. We live in an extremely intensive green landscape and
the need to implement them accordingly.

Your base is absolutely superb except for a few small things.
Personally, I would only reinforce the greens in the foreground and pull
the shade on the road longer, the background fits my feeling. Place the
roof on the middle house and sit horizontally including a crisp shadow.

Now the foreground and background of the tonal values ??is equivalent to
created and shows little differentiation in the aerial perspective.
Everything is changed with a few brush-strokes.


06-25-2013, 03:09 PM
You could add some really dark conifers towards the viewer.


06-25-2013, 04:49 PM
I actually think it's quite good. I'd darken the end of the road; the trees that are there. And add a few darks in the foreground trees. Your greens are all the same intensity of value so you should have a foreground, middle ground and background. Don't bin it; just add some dreaded darks! ;)

06-25-2013, 05:40 PM
I wonder about the house on the right. Is the photo turned at an angle, and you're painting, literally speaking, what you see in the photo? Otherwise, how do the folks in that house sleep without everyone rolling to the end of it? :D

The road on the left has me wondering where it goes.

06-25-2013, 08:24 PM
I think you have a great mix of green hues. There are times of the year when it is really that green!

I quit using phthalo green and switched to the single pigments Viridian and Diopside Genuine (Daniel Smith) for a base for my greens. I think the reason I didn't like to do landscapes was because the pthalo green just made everything too garish, even when mixed with yellows or blues.


06-26-2013, 04:18 AM
You've done a fantastic job with the greens - I hate them too. Perhaps a small bit of red - its complement (always works) would add the brightness needed.

06-26-2013, 06:31 AM
I like your composition (even if it is the same as on the photo ;) ).

You have a nice mix of greens and the scene looks like springtime. :D

Yesterday in class, our instructor was talking about depth and perspective. If you think of your scene divided into thirds, the front third should be a bit deeper in tone (as it is closer to you), the mid section a bit less, and the distance much less. Same holds true with the amount of detail you show.
I mention this because I'm not seeing that progression of tones and details in this painting.

For doing this without a preliminary sketch, I think you really did a very fine job of the work.

BTW, have you checked out this section on Greens in The Watercolor Handbook? Maybe you won't hate them so much after you do. ;)


Favorite Greens

Greens by Lynda Coles

The Green Scene — KIUAN Class

Having Fun Mixing Greens by Sue (sueturnersmith)

Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens and Darks by Char (CharM)

Mixed Greens vs Tube Greens

Premixing Greens by Lynda Coles

Some Fun Greens


Veridian Green Is Good For...

Which Sap Green Do You Like?


06-26-2013, 12:23 PM
Thank you very much, all of you, for your time and good advise!!
I really feel challanged now :D .
I will go back to it and try to change a few things, as far as possible. Totally agree to that the forground houses/roofs look awkward. Maybe I tilted the foto the slightest little bit, as someone says, the street looks awkward too!!
When I come back with my changes, I'll show you the reference foto.


06-29-2013, 06:01 PM
I actually quite like your painting! My only critique (and it's a quite minor one) is that the midground and foreground greenery blend into each other a bit. The fix with this one would be to have a less saturated midground with more blue tones to give a sense of atmospheric perspective.

06-30-2013, 06:34 AM
I know exactly how you feel about green! Love the landscape but with all the rain here, the greens are saturated! I've been looking at Frank Eber's work. He is a landscape artist and I realize that he gets around the green issue by using various shades of grey! Check him out, he's given me new hope about painting green. lol


06-30-2013, 06:49 AM
Well, here we are!


I show you the reference as well and here you can see the whole problem with painting from fotos:


it is all lying in bright sunlight and I can't see a real difference between foreground and background.
For my eye the dark trees at the upper right are the same value as the foreground.
It is always a problem for me to paint "clear" but not too "bright", which means I'm still not able to controll
my pigment/water ratio, and this especially when painting sunlit green!!!

Besides some "constructional" failure (I just realized that my foreground houses are too small) I tried my very best
now to fix the values. I did what I could do, strengthened the foreground as much as paper gives and tried to "blue"
the background more (which didn't work too well, because paper starts to suck it).
Well, that's all for now, I'll make my mental notes and try to do better next time.

Thank you very much again for your kind support. :heart:

06-30-2013, 08:37 AM
I like your 2nd one. The darker greens in the trees and shadows give you depth and Makes your eye follow the painting more. I always remember something my mentor, freind and fishing buddy told me, "You need the darks to show the lights." He was a painter for about 50 years. He has passed now, but I sometimes hear his voice when I am painting. Don't worry that I fell off my bicycle. LOL. Keep up the good work.


06-30-2013, 08:47 AM
love your improvements

06-30-2013, 09:28 AM
there is nothing wrong with your technique ,,this is a case of the camera angles not giving the right perspective .and shows why we often have to change a photo

so level out the right hand house to horizontal even if your head say you should not..a touch of height to the fence in the foreground would not come amiss.I would also put a tiny left bend at the end of the road to stop the drop of look
I hope you dont mind me giving my way of approaching the subject

06-30-2013, 02:59 PM
superturtle - I know what you mean but the paper doesn't take more
changes. I'll do better next time :)

Gail - thank you so much for sharing this painters name - although he seems
to be well known, I had never heard of him. But now I know - I spent
the best part of this afternoon reading his blog!!!!

Pat - Yes, theoretically I know this, your teacher was absolutely right :lol: .
But sometimes our head goes ist own ways, doesn't it? But I agree
that there are some things we once learned and can always remember
who told us and how!

maryinasia - thank you

Alan - I don't mind absolutely - thank you for "stepping by" and leaving your
comment - and right you are! I must really learn to alter or leave
things out.

Thanks a lot to all who have commented :heart:

07-14-2013, 10:56 PM
Hi there,

I quite like your painting, infact I think you have given the scene a softer and more appealing look than it has in the photo.

Have you ever tried doing Pen and Washes, I have found that when painting a scene that seems to have a lot of varied hues of the same colour, it helps to separate them a little so they don't appear to all meld together.

My Husband is from Southern Ireland, and the Landscapes there are extremely saturated with many many Greens of all Shades, Light and Darkness. Hence the Name "Emerald Isle"

Try the picture again many times trialing varying different techniques, for example, you don't have to try to depict every Green that is there, and also try doing it in Pen and Wash. However when you are doing Pen and Washes try not to outline absolutely everything, otherwise it will look like something done in a Colouring In Book. Use a very Fine tipped Nib and make sure you are useing a Waterproof Ink, you can either use a Speed Ball Pen or a Fountain Pen, but if you are using a Fountain Pen make sure the Waterproof Ink is for a Fountain Pen and Not a Drawing ink or it will destroy your Pen.

Good luck, and am looking forward to your experiments.

Take Care.
Love Carolynn.:):thumbsup::wave:

07-15-2013, 11:54 AM
did you get these values? in the bushes?

you think you are seeing that light green- but was it all that color really? if you take a hole out of a piece of white card and put this hole over different places it helps you to see the true value. contrasting values creates depth and realism- contrasting values draws your eyes in more.

07-16-2013, 02:40 AM
Doesn't really have a focal point. Values are all very similar as well as the verdant hues throughout. Having a limited palette leaning toward umbers and siennas with ultramarine will make surprisingly wealthy landscape.
Stubbonly trying to paint what you think you see when faced with a green landscape is a trap that almost evryone falls for.

07-17-2013, 09:37 AM
I agree with the improvements that others have said to enhance your painting and applaud you second effort changing it , a really whiter fence would be the icing on the cake . Nice painting .