View Full Version : Hour 2.5/100 - Arizona rock and dead tree

03-08-2014, 05:30 AM

My second attempt at painting, 2.5 hours into my 100 hours of painting project :)

I would really love and appreciate any criticism, tips, or comments on things I'm doing wrong or that I could do better! I really want to improve and so it's incredibly helpful having someone more experienced than me point out flaws.

(Also, thank you to those who commented in my first thread for all the overwhelmingly kind and encouraging comments!)

The landscape books I ordered in the mail came!

"Guide to landscape painting" - J.F Carlson
"Landscape painting inside and out" - Kevin MacPherson
"Color and light" - James Gurney

I think they will be incredibly helpful, and in my excitement I've only had the chance to skim read all of them. It seems though that what I really need to learn right now is some very fundamental technical skills.

Some (of many) specific things I struggled with in this painting

- Not having white show through in the painting. I think I need to learn to prep(?) my canvas first?

- What order to paint in. I Ended up painting the sky last, when I think in hindsight I should have painted it first and then painted the mountain and the tree over it? I ended up having to repaint the tree because it was too difficult for me to paint the sky around it.

- Colour mixing for the shadow side of the rock

- The small details of the rock, like all of the small cracks, crevices and individual pieces.

I'm starting to think that a good way for me to learn basic technical skills would be to find a bunch of paintings that I really like and then try to replicate them. What do you think about this?

Any recommendations for youtube videos/websites that teach the absolute fundamental skills required to paint a landscape?

Here is the reference photo and the primary sketch I did

Charlie's Mum
03-08-2014, 06:50 AM
I did view your first painting but had no time to comment.
This one is looking very promising and I like the bold colour choices though the blue could be lighter to give greater tonal contrast - allowing the tree more drama against the sky.
The rock shows good form.

Canvas - sometimes it's good to tone the canvas first by covering with another colour - bits that show through are less distracting than white.

Start at the 'back' of the painting - i.e. paint sky first so you don't have to paint round objects. With this ref, sky, rock, greenery and then tree.

Train your observation skills - this means LOOK, look, and look again so you SEE shapes and colours and nuances of colour and tone. (Your sketch looks pretty good for the rock)

Please don't think painting is easy and can be learnt in a few paintings - it really does take a LOT of practise and we improve a step at a time ....... and those of us who have been painting for MANY years are still learning!:)
So take your time and practise!!!

Paint from the 'general' to the 'specific' - block the shape, add the form, add the detail (what you can comfortably discern from a distance!)
Brushes - from large at start and small at end).
For shadows, darken the base colour, ad a little of its opposite to cool it and keep building the tones until you have the depth you want.

(Opposites/Complementarities ... red/green, blue/orange, yellow/purple.)

Painting from other works - you can certainly learn a lot from painting from the Masters' works.
You can learn a lot from studying other people's works - how they put the pain on for example!
You could learn a lot from visiting our Information Kiosk here (see my signature links) and studying the Classroom threads access via the Classroom Index.
I think, really, there's a wealth of learning to be found there!

Finally (for the present!) ... learn to OBSERVE nature and objects, LOOK at light on forms and PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE! ...... and enjoy the process!:D

03-08-2014, 07:53 AM
Major improvements already. Have to agree with Mum on this one. Improvements will come and I see many already.

03-08-2014, 08:57 AM
I agree with Howard, you are already improving.

Maureen gave you a lot of good points. I just want to add one... acrylic paint dries darker so make room for adjustments. The sky is usually lighter towards the horizon. I paint the sky first, I don't like painting around things, so my order of painting would be from the top/sky down to the bottom/foreground. Block it in and add details after the block in. As far as covering the canvas goes, sometimes you have to use more than one layer or thicker paint.

Stay positive!

03-08-2014, 09:27 AM
"What they said" ..... plus, .... and this is for later on when you've decided you want to pursue this ...... check the opacity of the paints you're using. When I first started, I found it frustrating that I couldn't get a block of solid ultramarine blue without the brush marks..... then I figured out that ultramarine blue is translucent. It wouldn't do what I wanted it to because opacity isn't one of it's properties (however, if you mix in a LITTLE titanium white, you get a slightly paler but slightly more opaque blue because opacity IS a property of Titanium white) . Doh! Similarly, Davey's grey is near black but translucent whereas mars black is opaque. Good paints will include a guide to the opacity on the label somewhere or you can use this as a rough guide: http://www.winsornewton.com/products/acrylic-colours/artists-acrylic-colour-/colour-chart/ Click on a colour for the specs to that paint.

Cannot agree more with Maureen's advice to LOOK, LOOK and LOOK again at your reference photo.

This is going to sound weird but it works: take a photograph of your reference and your painting side-by-side. Oddly, it's much easier to clearly "SEE" a photo of the painting than it is to see the painting itself. No idea why.

Definite progress in the 2nd painting :thumbsup:

03-08-2014, 10:12 AM
One thing that strikes me is your use of variation in colors, almost broken color; and that is a good thing. You have some great tips from our members here. keep up the good work.:)