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Maggie P
03-25-2004, 11:25 AM
In the thread on painting foliage ("SCREAMING") there was a suggestion that I demo what I was talking about. I've done a small piece, 7"x10", on board prepared with Art Spectrum primer (elephant color). Here are the steps, with comments:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Mar-2004/37783-sketch.jpg

I have done a sketch in vine charcoal, noting the shadow areas and the dark areas of the composition. I can erase mistakes here with a kneaded eraser if necessary, and make changes to the composition. Regarding the foliage, I have lightly indicated the outline of masses of shaded leaves; I've also drawn the trunk of the tree and the major branches.

Next, I indicated the large branches and trunk of the tree. I placed sky colors in areas where I know they will not be majorly affected by the tree. I like to get enough sky in at this point to be certain of its value. (Referring to Carlson's Guide to the Landscape, "the sky is the source of light.") I also put in the distant hills because their value is important in relationship to the sky and the tree.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Mar-2004/37783-branches.jpg

Next I place the shadow areas of foliage. I begin to put in a few sky-holes so that later I can overlap them with lighter foliage.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Mar-2004/37783-foliage_darks.jpg

Then I work towards the sunlight portions of the foliage. I continue to try to think in masses (though smaller and smaller masses) of color. I work in broken color -- colors of similar value but different temperature. For example, in the shadowed leaf mass, there will be broken bits of blue, dark brown, reddish brown, and purple mixed with the same value of dark green. In the sunlight areas, there are lighter greens, oranges and yellows. Finally the highlights--the lightest lights of the leafy masses--are added. I tidied up tree trunk and sky holes, and put in the foreground grasses. Final image:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Mar-2004/37783-final_tree.jpg

I hope this is enough explanation--if not, ask away!

Kathryn Wilson
03-25-2004, 11:33 AM
Oh, this is just the perfect demonstration that we needed for foliage! Thank you, Maggie - :clap:

Can you tell me what your dark color was for the foliage?

minov
03-25-2004, 11:36 AM
Maggie,
Thanks for the demo on painting foliage- it is so well done! Trees are one of those things we tend not to see as they really are, we tend to paint what we "think" they are, and end up with stiff and static foliage.
I found the WIP of the whole painting very informative!

mindy

Paula Ford
03-25-2004, 11:44 AM
THANK YOU...THANK YOU...THANK YOU

This is wonderful!!

Maggie P
03-25-2004, 11:51 AM
Oh, this is just the perfect demonstration that we needed for foliage! Thank you, Maggie - :clap:

Can you tell me what your dark color was for the foliage?

The dark greens were a Ludwig dark green from his set of 85 greens; no number or color name but it's very dark, and a Pastels Girault, #336. I use a lot of Giraults, but they are particularly good on an early layer since they don't fill the tooth. In addition to the greens, I used a dark blue, a dark brown, a reddish brown and a dark purple (Unisons, don't know the color names since I discarded the labels). Before I added the next lighter value I tapped the dark color mass areas lightly with my finger to push them back and merge them just slightly. No rubbing--just tap, tap, tap with the pad of the finger.

I'm glad you liked this! It was fun and made me think about
why I do what I do and how to explain it.

Khadres
03-25-2004, 11:53 AM
This is great! Thanks for sharing your expertise! You make it seem so easy! I'll be sure to bookmark this thread for reference!

meowmeow
03-25-2004, 12:05 PM
You sure do make it look easy...but this does help. It is always good to see how someone else works, especially when that someone really knows what she is doing!!!!
Thanks for doing this Maggie. It is great having you around here!


Sandy

Geoff
03-25-2004, 12:13 PM
An inspiring and informative demo.
Many thanks for posting it.
More please !!!

SweetBabyJ
03-25-2004, 12:22 PM
So that's how it's done!!

Thank you, Maggie- this gets a five-star rating from me!

Laura Shelley
03-25-2004, 01:06 PM
Wow! This one definitely gets saved for future reference! You should do an article for the site, IMO.

Dark_Shades
03-25-2004, 01:17 PM
Maggie I hope you know how MUCH I appreciate the time you took to do this ....... a BIG, BIG THANK YOU :clap:

Can I ask ........ do you also use different pressures, and strokes

.... Im currently working on another (you all have been pre-warned lol) .... and must say with what information you shared in the previous thread, has helped tremendously..... am not SCREAMING any more lol ..... just a small whimper here and there lol ;)

chewie
03-25-2004, 01:22 PM
BRAVO!!! this was great, thanks much maggie! and might i add, i also am very fond of those distant hills!

Dyin
03-25-2004, 01:38 PM
This is a very easy to follow demo..I use OPs exclusively and one of my problems is picking up sky colors in the foliage, so think I'll use gouache underpaintings for skies from now on. I also like the mountains...it looks like you did them warm and then changed them to cool and gave them softer edges...I actually think the soft edges give it the best sense of distance....such a contrast to the foreground and tree. Thanks for a good demo, am rating it.

marshallgh
03-25-2004, 01:47 PM
Beautiful work...thank you.
I'm a newbie and just learning....so a question....I know those unison pastels are really thick...how do you get such sharp lines (eg the grass in the foreground)...do you use colour shapers?
Or if the pastels are rounded do you have to grind them to a sharp edge? Then what to do with all that pigmented dust? :confused:
Thanks,
Terry
PS just got my Wallis paper and anxious to give it a try...also got one of those color shapers (#6 firm) but don't know what to do with it :(

DGrau
03-25-2004, 01:55 PM
Very nicely explained...excellent demo
Thank you
David
Edited to add.... Just wanted to add that I thought it was an excellent point you brought up that the foliage was not all "GREEN" but a mix of many colors.

artbyjune
03-25-2004, 02:50 PM
Thank you for a very interesting demo. I can't wait to apply the tips in my paintings of foliage...foliage is not the easiest thing to get looking 'right'.

June

Maggie P
03-25-2004, 03:13 PM
Glad you liked this, Dawn...you really got me going on the subject of foliage. Yes, I do vary pressures and strokes. As the tooth of the surface starts to fill, or when I want a strong "blob," I push the pastel into the board a little. In the foliage areas, I try not to make any linear strokes, but rather more blobs, or big dots really, with the ends of fat pastels. Then, as I mentioned in a post earlier today replying to another question, I tap the surface so as to meld colors together in areas where I want to push them back. I don't blend them--the only place I blend is in the sky.

Marshallgh, it's true Unisons are big fat pastels. But I use them a lot on their sides, which wears them down here and there. It seems I can always find a little corner or edge to make a small mark with. If I can't, then I go to a Girault Pastel, which is hard enough that there's always a good crisp edge somewhere. Except when my pastels are brand new big sticks, I don't break them to get edges. (Actually I don't break them just to get edges anyway. I break the Giraults to leave the numbered end in the box in the vain hope I will remember not to use it and have it to figure out what I need to buy. I break other pastels to put half sticks in my plein-air kit and then end up with half sticks at home as well.)

I started experimenting with Colour Shapers recently. I kind of like them. They are very good for removing color or pushing it around, and good for slightly blending colors of same value. But if you use them where two colors of different value meet, you can make mud. I'm still fairly cautious with them, and believe that the best blending tool is another stick of pastel.

skintone
03-25-2004, 04:13 PM
THis was great. And on time. I'm planning a large landscape for my next project. My question is do you create sketches for large works as well, and with this much detail? Do you spray fixative on the charcoal or just go over the top of it?

Kathryn Day
03-25-2004, 04:28 PM
Maggie,
This was extremely helpful!!! I really had difficulty with trees doing a landscape and this helped me to see what I could do differently. Thank you so much.

Maggie P
03-25-2004, 04:42 PM
THis was great. And on time. I'm planning a large landscape for my next project. My question is do you create sketches for large works as well, and with this much detail? Do you spray fixative on the charcoal or just go over the top of it?

The answer to the first question: it varies. I do just as much sketch as I need to be absolutely certain where each element will go, and to decide if I need to make any changes in the composition before beginning color. If it is a relatively simple composition then the sketch is simple, perhaps just an indication of horizon line and major elements. Certainly when I work on location my sketches are simple. For large studio pieces of complex subjects, they may be as complete as this one. I'd rather notice a fatal flaw while I can still wipe off the charcoal or remove it with a kneaded eraser.

Second question: no, I never spray fixative on the charcoal. I thump the board a little, blow off any loose charcoal dust, and then assume what charcoal that remains will help my dark areas stay dark. There won't be any charcoal to speak of in light areas so there's no problem. I've never had it get muddy.

BTW, I only work on Wallis sanded paper or boards prepared with Art Spectrum primer or my own pumice/gesso mix. I'm not sure how the charcoal sketch would work on a less toothy surface. It probably will be fine on LaCarte but I'd wonder about Canson.

jackiesimmonds
03-25-2004, 06:02 PM
I know those unison pastels are really thick...how do you get such sharp lines (eg the grass in the foreground)...do you use colour shapers?
Terry
:(

I hope Maggie wont mind my jumping in here - but I would just like to say that there really is no need to "sharpen" a pastel. As you use any thick stick of pastel, you automatically create a chisel edge. All you have to do, to make a line, is to turn the pastel around so that you are "drawing" with the chisel edge. I never, ever, sharpen my pastels, and yet I am always able to draw a fine line. I suggest that you try, on a sheet of paper, to see how fine a line you can draw with a big, fat pastel. You may surprise yourself. Begin by making quite a few fat lines, don't worry about how fat they are, and press fairly hard. Then pick up your pastel and look at it. You will immediately see the chisel edge you have created. Then, carefully use that chisel edge, or the corner point of it, to draw a fine line, pressing gently.

Jackie

jackiesimmonds
03-25-2004, 06:11 PM
Second question: no, I never spray fixative on the charcoal. I thump the board a little, blow off any loose charcoal dust, and then assume what charcoal that remains will help my dark areas stay dark. There won't be any charcoal to speak of in light areas so there's no problem. I've never had it get muddy.

BTW, I only work on Wallis sanded paper or boards prepared with Art Spectrum primer or my own pumice/gesso mix. I'm not sure how the charcoal sketch would work on a less toothy surface. It probably will be fine on LaCarte but I'd wonder about Canson.

Re the "second question" above ... I often spray fix on my initial drawing, if I have done one. I used always to use charcoal, but of late, when using black pastel paper, I have had to use colour, for obvious reasons, and so I use a pastel pencil. It doesn't hurt to spray either the pastelpencil drawing, or the charcoal, with some fix, but like Maggie, I tend to dust off any heavy marks before fixing.

Also, re Maggie's comment about Canson.......I work on Canson very often, I like it, and when I do a charcoal under-drawing, I draw linear outlines, and also put in some of the dark areas using the side of the charcoal, and then I dust any heavy areas off, spray fix, and then launch into colour. However, with Canson, it is very important not to fill the tooth too quickly, and so instead of charcoal, I sometimes use a felt-tip pen, this is great for an under-drawing, because it doesn't fill the tooth AT ALL. If I make any mistakes, I just redraw over the top - knowing I am going to cover all my drawing the pastel, I simply do not worry about it.

Jackie

Deborah Secor
03-25-2004, 07:08 PM
Great WIP, Maggie--I wonder who thought to suggest you should do this??? ;)

I use the colour shapers a lot now. Somebody once said that you use them just like you do a brush with paint and it clicked. I'll pick up little bits of color and redeposit it elsewhere or lightly blend in the appropriate spots.

Now--how about a denser treescape, something where there are trees behind the trees instead of this open one? It seems like the next logical step in the progression. That always baffles people. There's something about foliage in front and behind that's hard. Any thoughts on that, Maggie?

You really have an article here already. Hey moderators, how about it??? I rated this one too. It needs to go in the archives.

Deborah

chewie
03-25-2004, 08:03 PM
hey, i like that idea, pleeeeaase?!! and another thought, well, another problem area that i have is a group of bare trees. not dead, but more like just barely spring or winter yet, when there is alot of light color (sky, snow, etc.) then all these blasted bare trees all over! that is my current phobia, and would love any help with it! i am currently doing something with many bare trees, so we'll see what i learn but having some guidelines would sure make me feel a bit more secure! (my trees have both 'forward' trees and some much further back.) but i sure learned plenty from the folige tree, and thank you maggie, very kind of you to take the time to share.

Maggie P
03-25-2004, 09:18 PM
OK, it's a challenge, but I'll take a look. Trees in front and in back, and bare trees in snowy or spring landscape....hmmm. You folks are going to keep me working! I love it. :)

SweetBabyJ
03-25-2004, 11:40 PM
Oh, Hooray! I LOVE trees- and hate trying to paint 'em....

chatfieldstudios
03-26-2004, 12:11 AM
Thanks Maggie, this has been an awesome demo and great discussion in the thread. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Cheena K
03-26-2004, 12:53 AM
It's wonderful!! Thanks for sharing

lozz
03-26-2004, 12:27 PM
Maggie P Thanks for putting this up! I always have trouble with painting stuff that grows out of earth! Thanks again!

best wishes

lozz

binkie
03-26-2004, 02:25 PM
Maggie,

Your demonstration is FANTABULOUS!!!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

:clap: :clap: :clap: MORE PLEASE!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:


binkie

Marc Hanson
03-26-2004, 04:13 PM
WELL done Maggie...but now, agreeing with the others and with your background, an article is only fair...what do ya say??? ;)

By the way, I'd like to see no less than 268 trees!

SweetBabyJ
03-26-2004, 04:18 PM
Does that include saplings? Or just 268 trees with trunks no less than 3" in diameter?

Either way, betcha Maggie's good for it.

Dark_Shades
03-26-2004, 04:55 PM
Ohhhh wheres the vote button for more, more, more :clap:

... yes a nice wooded scene ...... where birds fly into trees and not brick walls :D ..... gotta be leaves, leaves, leaves

Meisie
03-26-2004, 05:06 PM
Great thread, with tons of info!!

Meisie

Maggie P
03-26-2004, 06:06 PM
Thanks to everyone for the kind words. And I will be happy to write an article. I just have to get over this rotten cold first. Unless it goes away really quickly (and at the moment I don't feel like it will ever go away) though, I may not get an article done before I leave for the UK. I'm holding out for being well by then!

I do think 268 trees is too many! I'm looking through photos (since I'm on the couch anyway) and thinking about subjects. We don't have many real trees here in New Mexico, just juniper and pinon except on the mountain where there are pines. But I paint in Colorado a lot, and maybe I'll find something in England or Scotland. :)

Deborah Secor
03-26-2004, 06:26 PM
Maggie--think Blanco! I've done lots of trees from around the cabin.

Maggie treated us to a long weekend at a family cabin years ago and I've painted from the photos ever since... Here's one I painted a looooong time ago.

Deborah

chewie
03-26-2004, 06:52 PM
oldie maybe, goodie, definately!! i wanna go there!!!

i just gotta say, esp. to maggie and deborah, a sincere thanks for sharing so much. it really means alot to me, and i am sure to many others. i feel so privileged to be a part of this!! not to mention just good fun!!

ok maggie, maybe just 144 trees? teehee! quite frankly, i'll take anything you do!! no matter what, i am sure i'll learn plenty!

SweetBabyJ
03-26-2004, 07:02 PM
Maggie--think Blanco! I've done lots of trees from around the cabin.

Maggie treated us to a long weekend at a family cabin years ago and I've painted from the photos ever since... Here's one I painted a looooong time ago.

Deborah

aw man- that's gorgeous, Deborah- beautiful work.


Everyone to Maggie's cabin for Spring break!!

billiam
03-26-2004, 08:15 PM
wonderful demo, your web site is fantastic. watching a painting develope is awsome, the number of people you have helped here is probably several hundred. it's like having a family of thousands at wc. bill

Maryeve
03-29-2004, 07:09 AM
Maggie! I wish I had looked at this yesterday when trying to do that lanscape..Thanks SO much! :clap:

stonewhiteclown
03-29-2004, 03:39 PM
hey, i like that idea, pleeeeaase?!! and another thought, well, another problem area that i have is a group of bare trees. not dead, but more like just barely spring or winter yet, when there is alot of light color (sky, snow, etc.) then all these blasted bare trees all over! that is my current phobia, and would love any help with it! i am currently doing something with many bare trees, so we'll see what i learn but having some guidelines would sure make me feel a bit more secure! (my trees have both 'forward' trees and some much further back.) but i sure learned plenty from the folige tree, and thank you maggie, very kind of you to take the time to share.

Regarding bare trees (which thread we're in anyway ? :) ) I suggest not to miss recent Tom Christopher's article http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/35607/457

Maggie P
03-29-2004, 06:31 PM
I had such a good time painting the single tree for this demo that I did another, larger piece from the same area (eastern face of the Sierra Nevada mountains).

The challenges here were many: treeless mountains, very distant and somewhat closer, with lovely afternoon shadows; fall trees in the distance as well as close up; and the usual challenge of dry climate. There was a bit of haze as well as the lower afternoon light, which helped create some atmosphere for distance.

This is 12x18, on museum board primed with Art Spectrum primer (elephant color).
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Mar-2004/37783-Trees_2.jpg

SweetBabyJ
03-29-2004, 06:34 PM
Yup- that's it all right: Everyone to Maggie's cabin for Spring Break!!

Kathryn Wilson
03-29-2004, 06:47 PM
Maggie--think Blanco! I've done lots of trees from around the cabin.

Maggie treated us to a long weekend at a family cabin years ago and I've painted from the photos ever since... Here's one I painted a looooong time ago.

Deborah

Wow, dee, I missed this one - different from your desert landscapes and I like it a lot!

Then there's Maggie with her landscape she does in one day - oi! :clap:

I agree - let's have a paint out at Maggie's cabin!

Maggie P
03-29-2004, 06:51 PM
Okay, you're on. But the cabin is in southern Colorado...not the area of the two paintings I've shown in this demo, but shown in the painting Deborah posted.

Seriously, it would be fun. July, maybe? It's high mountain (8,000 feet) so it's not too hot in the daytime, cool at night, endless subject matter.... and endless trees.

Deborah Secor
03-29-2004, 07:12 PM
<Deborah raises her hand> I'll go! I'd love to get up another thousand feet anytime in July. Hmmm, maybe Maggie should do a tree workshop there...

(Oh, suddenly I feel sad. No doggies to splash in the stream. They had such a great time there. Sorry. Didn't mean to bring you down. I think I may have to get another dog soon.)

Okay, okay, back to trees... Maggie, the yellow trees are smashing! I love the subtle colors behind them.

Deborah

Maggie P
03-29-2004, 07:14 PM
<Deborah raises her hand> I'll go! I'd love to get up another thousand feet anytime in July. Hmmm, maybe Maggie should do a tree workshop there...

Yes, yes, yes! I'd love to do that.

Deborah Secor
03-29-2004, 07:18 PM
(do I get comped since I thought of it???)

SweetBabyJ
03-29-2004, 07:25 PM
(do I get comped since I thought of it???)
HEY!!! I've BIN sayin' it!!

muttermuttermutter

If she gets comped, I get comped.

:cool:

Paula Ford
03-29-2004, 07:30 PM
Ooooooooo, beautiful painting!!!

Raising both hands, jumping up and down!!!!!! ME TOO ME TOO!!!!
Sounds like heaven Maggie. My husband and I go to the Rockies, Buena Vista, fishing every year. Anywhere near there?

Thank you so much for all the info you share!!!

Paula Ford
03-29-2004, 07:32 PM
Maggie--think Blanco! I've done lots of trees from around the cabin.

Maggie treated us to a long weekend at a family cabin years ago and I've painted from the photos ever since... Here's one I painted a looooong time ago.

Deborah

Oh Deborah, This is soooooo beautiful!!! How I wish to be in this scene!!!!

Maggie P
03-29-2004, 09:15 PM
Ooooooooo, beautiful painting!!!

Raising both hands, jumping up and down!!!!!! ME TOO ME TOO!!!!
Sounds like heaven Maggie. My husband and I go to the Rockies, Buena Vista, fishing every year. Anywhere near there?

Thank you so much for all the info you share!!!

Near Pagosa Springs...close enough?

How about we just all get together & paint...no instructor, just share information, art and fun?

Kathryn Wilson
03-29-2004, 09:37 PM
Can you see my lower lip hanging out all the way to New Mexico - me wanna go too - :crying:

Paula Ford
03-29-2004, 10:31 PM
Near Pagosa Springs...close enough?

How about we just all get together & paint...no instructor, just share information, art and fun?

Yup close enough indeed!!

That sounds wonderful. I'll bring the champagne!!

Kat, you are breaking my heart watching you cry!!

Geoff
03-30-2004, 11:17 AM
I see that they have managed to test fly a plane that should do a few thousand miles in 2 hours.
If they manage to get it working commercially between now and July, I'm in for a Scotland to USA flight, to join in with this workshop of yours, LOL . certainly beats blues and greens and some purples.
And it must be warmer than here.......

Maggie P
03-30-2004, 02:04 PM
I see that they have managed to test fly a plane that should do a few thousand miles in 2 hours.
If they manage to get it working commercially between now and July, I'm in for a Scotland to USA flight, to join in with this workshop of yours, LOL . certainly beats blues and greens and some purples.
And it must be warmer than here.......

Oh, I want that plane. I'm heading for the UK next week, and facing the usual 15-16 hours in transit.

I'll be in Scotland (teaching at Shinafoot Studios in Auchterarder April 12-16). Do you think maybe it will be warm by then?
:)

jackiesimmonds
03-30-2004, 04:02 PM
Oh, I want that plane. I'm heading for the UK next week, and facing the usual 15-16 hours in transit.

I'll be in Scotland (teaching at Shinafoot Studios in Auchterarder April 12-16). Do you think maybe it will be warm by then?
:)

well, Maggie, you have a 50/50 chance of warmth................

Geoff
03-31-2004, 10:18 AM
Oh, I want that plane. I'm heading for the UK next week, and facing the usual 15-16 hours in transit.

I'll be in Scotland (teaching at Shinafoot Studios in Auchterarder April 12-16). Do you think maybe it will be warm by then?


:)

Shinafoot - lovely.

warm, well - yesterday wasn't too bad, but today it's bright - but jolly cold in the wind. Normal, really.
you probably expect to do some plein aire work ?
trees are coming out in leaf and the spring bulbs are well out, so a mixture - some colour, but also some left over winter cool.