View Full Version : Goshen Valley landscape

05-10-2015, 01:33 PM
16" x 20" on stone paper, from a photo posted by Ural in last month's Spotlight of the Goshen Valley in the Smoky Mountains. Thank you, Ural!:wave: The painting began life as a pastel, got covered over with water soluble oil paint and is now undergoing a makeover with pastels. :lol: :evil: :lol:

My main concern is whether the composition is working. Those three large light areas of ground are very similar in shape, so I have tried to add interest. All C&C appreciated!


water girl
05-10-2015, 01:58 PM
The greens and oranges are stunning, the sky is beautiful. Suggestions to consider....add a bit of blue to tone down the violet/red of the closest hill. It may be my monitor, but it may be a bit too bright. What if you removed the little violet wall at the end of the second field, then continued crop rows almost to the tree line? Keep some of the lovely violet color in the fields. I'm just throwing those out there for consideration. I know you won't touch a thing until you have heard from the others and will consider their input.

05-10-2015, 04:28 PM
I find the dark mass of trees in the distance distracting, but that is probably because warm colors usually advance while cool colors recede. Hey, I am learning something :) Covering up the purple hill instantly improves the composition.

05-10-2015, 06:59 PM
Thank you both for your suggestions. At this point, this painting has become a laboratory of experiments, so I'll play with the ideas you tossed out! :lol:

Here is Ural's reference photo. Since he posted it for us to use in the Spotlight, I hope it's ok that I post it here.

Donna T
05-10-2015, 08:13 PM
What a lovely pastel/oil/pastel painting, Blayne! The colors you are using are much more interesting than what the photo shows. I think you could create more distance by lightening the value of the distant trees and lessening the look of texture there. That area might benefit from having some of the red-violet from the large mountain mixed in - the less green you use the more distance you'll create. What if you removed some of the foliage from that front fenceline? It might create a more open feeling and connect those two fields. I like the way you've repeated the red-violet in the clouds and in the foreground field - nice!

05-11-2015, 05:14 AM
Blayne, I love love the sky! Beautiful. I agree with Karen though about the mountain perhaps needing to cool down.
The trees on the right are well done, IMHO. I feel a change of season in your painting. Perhaps a few weeks farther into Spring? Nice change.
I can't get over that you have pastel and then oil and then pastel again on this painting. Amazing to me!!!
You have a beautiful painting here

ural jones
05-11-2015, 07:31 AM
Certainly fine by me that y'all use my photo. I am enjoying this very much. We have not been able to visit the area for the past 6 mos. and this is making me want to go right now!
Blayne since you ask, I'd like to see the little tree up front, on the left, with a bit more shadows to give it a clear structure. You have done such a good job with the tree shadows on the right! I also like your sky very much. I hope the furrowed fields do not continue across the creek because, well, the other side is pasture....LOL
I also agree that Trey Mountain is a touch too red...
But, again, it takes me there and we simply have to go!!!
Beautiful, Blayne!

05-11-2015, 07:50 AM
Hi Blayne, what a fascinating thread! Your beautiful, yet not quite finished painting looks very promising indeed, and you have already received so many helpful opinions. I won't add to that, I'll just follow and enjoy and look forward to the final result :thumbsup:

05-11-2015, 08:42 AM
Thank you, everyone! I have pastels in hand and am determined to do a better job on this! (Or at least work it to death! :lol: ) Trey Mountain is looming much too red-violet, for sure.

Donna, thank you! I'm softening the tree line, adding blue, and softening the fence line.

Jay, I'll try to leave the sky alone since you think it's working ok. And I did want to add a bit more color, although I'm not sure if my painting is accurately depicting the delicate green-gold foliage of spring that I want. My dilemma is that if I put in too much gold in the far foliage, it won't recede as it needs to. I probably need more barren limbs (tree limbs! :) ) showing. Thank you--and I'm shamelessly looking at the painting you did of this to get ideas for better showing that creek line!

Ural, so glad you're back! :wave: :clap: Thank you! And you're not allowed to go vacationing to Trey Mountain before you post a few paintings--you've been lax lately! :lol: Thank you for allowing use of your lovely photo. And for reminding me to put that tree shadow back in. I had put it in but smeared over it and lost it. Nose to the grindstone--again ...

Thanks, raxu! I'll post an update if I think I've improved it.

05-11-2015, 09:20 AM
Blayne, one problem jmps out at me. The farthest of the golden fields suddenly tilts up to become a flat jigsaw piece instead of a distant hill, it's also too goldn for its distance and should be more green-grayed with atmospheric recession.You changed teh shape, it's larger and the tree crosses it, but that patch of trees behind it got pushed back and its slope the hill that it is, just turned flat instead of being a hill.

Check your reference. I would break that and restore the graceful sweeping hill shape, cool and mute it, then cool and mute the right side of it even more and darken it a bit. Look at the two shapes that make up that one shape, uniting them broke a sense of flatness. Gradient especially on the right side may help restore it, though not much space working around the tree.

Notice how it's gold outlined with blue-violet shading, this is a lot of why that reads as a tile turned toward the viewer instead of like a hill. You could even extend that blue-violet to the entire right side piece of it like grayed grass blued by distance and it'd work, then give some olive green and gray-blue to the hill piece that's the left of it and turn it with a gradient.

I hope ths is understandable, if not I could try drawing it in Gimp.

05-11-2015, 12:26 PM
Aargh, Robert! TL Maggie Price grays are so not working. Thank you, though--I'll try something else. Thanks so much for your detailed explanation!

05-11-2015, 01:55 PM
Don't get discouraged Blayne. You can do it. Just because we're all watching and waiting.....:angel:

05-11-2015, 02:06 PM
Don't hold your collective breaths! Painting put on hold due to home maintenance task. I was almost grateful to have some odious task to distract me! :lol:

05-11-2015, 04:00 PM
Its amazing that you can put so nice colors from a photo that don't show these colors that way. Very nice!
I can not help so much about landscape painting though.

05-12-2015, 09:12 AM
I love your palette; agree with the suggestion to tone down that mountain. I am really impressed with your interpretation of the ref picture; you added much more interest!

05-12-2015, 01:59 PM
Blayne, the painting is so nice! It's so delicate and colorful :)

05-12-2015, 05:58 PM
Thank you, Dorothea! Robert had commented in the Spotlight that, "you should be able to grid a painting with two inch squares and somethng should be going on in each square like a mini painting." I tried to do that in this painting but might have got it too busy.

Thanks, Nick! Getting the atmospheric perspective right is certainly more difficult than it looks.

05-13-2015, 09:26 AM
There is a lot to love about this painting. In your first post you mentioned too many areas were the same size. I brought this book on composition after getting it out from the library and basically his number one rule was no two intervals of a painting should be the same. His examples in the book really prove the point. I try to remember it myself and when something isn't working I often see that I am breaking the rule (along with many others)

Now if you really want to drive yourself crazy on composition look up the Golden Mean, sometimes called Golden Ratio. Apparently all the masters used this in their paintings. On YouTube look up Stefan Bauman or The Grand View. He has lots of good videos on composition, etc. he does oils but it applies to all painting. He says in his video on the Golden Mean that dividing the canvas into thirds grew out of this but that the real prime spot is a little left or right of those marks.

When I took a class with Richard McKinley, he just puts a dot in center of paper and then draws making sure his focal point not over the dot. Of course he is an expert and gets it right. I will say he does take his selected sketch and does three small drawings of each . First one stays as sketch, second one gets five values and third is a notan. Value Viewer is an app he suggested downloading. It converts photo, painting etc. in to gray scale and a notan. Great app.

Pam :wave:

05-14-2015, 10:59 AM
Thank you, Pam, but I sure am finding it difficult to find something to love about this painting right now! :crying: And thanks for all the information. I might have read that same book you mentioned, because I had read about intervals and was definitely concerned about those three intervals in this painting being so similar. About the Golden Mean, I've often wondered why standard frame sizes do not correspond at all to those proportions, with the longer side being roughly one and a half times the length of the shorter side (well, 1.61 times, to be exact). And I certainly get lost in all the math involved beyond those proportions! :) Thank you for the tip about the Value Viewer app. I'll check it out! I'll bet your workshop with McKinley was terrific!:envy: