View Full Version : A Fall Scene

09-20-2015, 10:29 AM

Title: A Fall Scene
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 18 x 24 inches
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I've only done two fall scenes before, neither of which came out too good. I'm looking for advice on how to improve this landscape. It was not done by a photo or a real life scene, but merely from imagination.

Is the evergreens in the mist of the fall hard wood trees appropriate?

Does it look realistic?

Do you see something wrong with overall composition?

I'm sure there are lots of ways I could improve this. Please share your advice with me.

09-20-2015, 09:06 PM
No, thank goodness, it doesn't look "realistic"...it looks stylized and I like it a lot. The color is really nice

Jules Hilliard
09-22-2015, 09:21 PM
Yes, I agree. The painting does look stylized. Now, if you want to lean towards realism, I suggest that you study nature more. Maybe do some sketches and even outdoor painting. You can not imagine the help you will get from it. Do not stop painting!

Dana Design
09-23-2015, 02:37 PM
I don't understand the black sky. I think this needs to be lightened up quite a bit and give a sense of some light direction. Where is your light coming from?

09-24-2015, 09:58 AM
The painting is a vinette thus the black surrounding the scene. I need to take it outdoor and get a better photo. The photo is dark and does not show the details well.

Thank you folks for your comments.

09-27-2015, 06:57 PM
I took another photo, this time in better light.

09-27-2015, 10:44 PM
I know you have the vignette effect, but the front large trees just look chopped off to me.. the evergreens foliage is too bright of a green, maybe a blue green or grayed green?? fall grasses are usually more of a yellow gold..
Maybe for me it feels too red, but that's just me...

09-28-2015, 02:03 PM
I love the colors of the trees, foliage and sky, but the vignette bothers me a bit. Perhaps lighten up the black to more of a neutral grey, or better yet a nice shade of warm sienna? I love your style though, keep painting!

09-29-2015, 08:26 AM
I love the colors of the trees, foliage and sky, but the vignette bothers me a bit. Perhaps lighten up the black to more of a neutral grey, or better yet a nice shade of warm sienna? I love your style though, keep painting!

Yeah I don't think I'm crazy about the dark background either and won't do it again. But honestly changing it at this point is not possible.

Mark Szymanski
09-29-2015, 04:14 PM
I don't know about giving up on the idea on a black canvas... it has rather striking value changes.

The main thing holding this back (I think) is that you're splitting the canvas in half... with the road acting as a big dividing line, it draws the eye straight back into the distance without allowing the eye to wander through the painting.

If you were to do a couple of simple changes I think the composition and thus the whole painting could be a lot stronger.

For example, if you were to move the hole in the trees to the right and then angle the road from left to right, it would draw your eye across the center of the painting allowing for some movement around the different portions.... below would be one of many possibilities along these lines.


Having some sunlight streaming from off canvas will set up some oppositional lines to help direct the eye around the canvas. The shadows can then be manipulated a bit to help the eye bounce around the canvas.

Or you could move the path to be more meandering back and forth, having some lost and found portions of the path. This sets up a perspective, and it is a more interesting line than a straight line back, because it allows your eye to check the entire painting on its way into the distance. An example of a possible treatment is below.
Moving some leaf groups around helps to reinforce the ideas and gives sparkle to different areas.

Having a road go straight back into the distance is rarely a good design idea - there are a plethora of problems, a multitude of issues which you then must tackle and it is exceptionally difficult to make a successful painting. It is such a strong line the eye is reluctant to leave it and explore any other portions of the canvas. The treatment of edges, the color treatment, shadow and light, ooh... it makes me shiver against the blizzard of difficulties a straight line road into the distance presents to the painter. In any case, there are some simple design changes which will make the composition and thus the whole painting stronger.

10-01-2015, 09:18 AM
I see the difference in the paintings and I definitely see your point. Thank you for helping me.

10-01-2015, 09:29 AM
I echo Mark's excellent advice, and add one more thought: part of the struggle with the black surround is its irregular shape -- a vignette tends to be a regular shape (e.g., oval) that fades into or away from the image inside. It doesn't read terribly well here -- irregular and also 'crowded' against the edges. Drawing the vignette area before you begin would help with what is otherwise a wonderful exploration of fall color.