View Full Version : barn in the snow- late afternoon

04-29-2015, 01:22 PM
I haven't posted much lately. I have been trying to paint more, after discovering pastelmat I've been more motivated.

This painting is from a photo I took while traveling (65 MPH out of a window).
I'm not sure if I took it too far with the color-
Please give me some honest feedback. Hate it, love it, tone it down, start over.......

I do want to try it again with a more neutral palette.

12x16 pastelmat. mostly Mt visions and Unison.


here's the photo


04-29-2015, 02:21 PM
I like this a lot! Very bold and dynamic!

Only two small suggestions. I would add just a hint of stronger blue in the uppermost part of the sky. It doesn't have to be as strong as the blue on the ground, but by adding a bit of gradation it will suggest that there is stronger blue sky above. The other thing I would consider would be to add a bit of atmospheric perspective and lighten that back row of mountains a little. Minor suggestions which can be ignored!

Lovely, bold painting!


04-29-2015, 02:47 PM
Thank you, Don
I agree, More blue in the sky and lighter/grey mountains. I think that would give it more depth.

04-29-2015, 04:11 PM
I like your snow very much. Very nice painting. Please show us if you do the changes Don suggested.

04-29-2015, 09:40 PM
I like the painting very much. I do think the bright blue in foreground is pulling your eye away from focal point. My pastel teacher encourages use to use more warm colors in foreground and to sneak in a "path" to focal point. Those golden grasses could be the key to leading viewer to barn. Just keep the lightest color on the sunlit side of barn.

Cover up the foreground with a piece of paper or even your hand where the bright blue is and see if it makes the barn more of a focal point. In class we cover up areas that were are not sure about and often end up taking out the item.

Pam :wave:

04-30-2015, 05:16 AM
what you have here is a sunlit scene. Sunlit snow is often quite golden, only the shadow areas would be this brilliant for colour, or any area of snow where there are undulations and the sun cannot hit directly, or if there is a cloud obscuring part of the landscape..... so it is slightly confusing as an image, the light does not seem consistent.

Look at these images, you will see what I mean:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Apr-2015/1805-snow_colours.jpg In this one, the artist kept with the colour complements of yellow/purple.

Here we get lots of lovely blues, turquoises etc in the shadowy areas of snow, with brightly lit lighter parts.

Pushing the colour is fine.........I have done this here, really playing with bright colours......but trying to show sunlight falling on an undulating field, to make it a bit more interesting. Also, I have brightened the sky a lot, your sky is a dull greyish colour, it doesn't read as sky on a sunny cold day to me.

It is quite rough, but you should be able to get the idea:


However, if you want a far less colourful image, something more true to what you saw with your own eyes, you could try that.........but bear the light in mind as you work. The photo is not giving you a lot to work with, to be honest. You would have to really search out the tones and colours, particularly softening the distance, your distant hills are far darker than in the photo.

Don't forget that you do have the option to crop the photo to create a different shape and therefore different composition...just because the camera took it like that, doesn't mean you have to stick with it.

04-30-2015, 08:04 AM
incidentally I just notice you say it is "late afternoon". late afternoon sunlight has much more orange in it than midday sunshine, so the light on the snow could reasonably be much more apricot coloured.

04-30-2015, 09:37 AM
I like the additions of color! Late in the day (one of my favorite times), the light has a characteristic orange glow which could be easily added in to your piece.

The far range of hills are too muted in comparison to other color in your painting, so you may enrich them. I would also add a touch more of your blue snow color into the mid-distance hills to connect them with the foreground snow.

Generally, lightening values into the distance is a good policy, but in reality, warm late afternoon light does not really do that as much as other times-of-day..

04-30-2015, 10:46 AM
Thanks everyone for their suggestions.
I tweaked it a little- lightened the mountains, added a little color to the sky, unfortunately, I'm running out of tooth. I had started out with the intention of a limited color palette of greyed cerulean blue and cream- I got a little carried away... I'm thinking of a do over.

Don- I your suggestion kept me from making the same mistake on a second "barn in snow" painting. I bumped up the blue quite a bit before I got too far- big difference and just what it needed. I'm not sure why I keep going too light with my skys.

Jackie- too little tooth left for drastic changes. I did lighten up some of the areas of snow, but it's getting too slick. I just started working on pastelmat- I love it, but I need to change my technique to accommodate less tooth than I'm used to. I love that I can get a sharper line, but need to remember I can't do 6 or 7 layers like I can on colourfix

I love the first snow painting in your post

Still-trying- thank you. I'm not sure I went far enough with Don's suggestions.

Pam- Yes, my eye kind of wonders all over the place before resting on the barn.

Ken- thank you I read your post after I photographed the changes- Yes more blue in the back ground snow. I'll re-tweak.

this photo is a little more color correct than the first (it doesn't look like I added more blue to the sky?) I'm still having problems photographing darker colors.


Donna T
04-30-2015, 07:40 PM
I love the time of day you have depicted here with that warm orange light! Those barns are big light catchers and you've done such nice work on them. I would think the snow in the foreground would be difficult to paint - according to your reference it's almost all in shade. If you wanted, you could subtly enhance the effect of the light on the barn roofs a bit more; those not in the sun reflect the blue of the sky while the one roof really is much lighter and warmer because of the orange color of the light. One other thing, if it hasn't been mentioned, is to consider grading the brightness of your sky from right to left to help show the direction of the sunlight, not just from top to bottom. You may have done this - not only does it not show up well in photos but photographing blues is a challenge! Very nice work on this!

05-01-2015, 02:24 AM
When working on this surface, it doesn't awlays pay to try too many layers. You can, however, add lots more by simply deciding where you intend to make changes and then BRUSH OFF a lot of the surface colour, with something like a hog hair brush, or even a toothbrush if you have no other brushes. Then, yuo will find you have more ability to add more layers.