View Full Version : New Mexico mountains (New Update)

09-01-2004, 05:17 PM
I started this outdoors with Paula (PJO). I must say, not being used to plein aire, I didn't get much done before the light changed too much. I had taken photos tho. :) So, here is some progress. I can already see that the mountains need to be greyed down. This is mostly an underpainting or first layer on the foreground. I don't think the mountains are quite this bright in the real painting.
It's so nice to get a change of scenery. lol But I've decided where I live (south plains of TX) the wide open sky is our greatest asset. I"m going to have to think about painting that more.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Sep-2004/3341-southSantaFemtnscactus4paintingWC.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Sep-2004/3341-southSantaFemtnscactus4paintingwip.jpg

09-01-2004, 05:51 PM
Has to be rough to get use to.painting en plaine air...Looks like you got a good start and base down to work from :clap:
best wishes

Kathryn Day
09-01-2004, 05:56 PM
Good start! Bet it will be stunning.

09-01-2004, 06:31 PM
Very good start looks like to me! Hurry and finish this one once yer laundry's done! :D

09-01-2004, 06:55 PM
Super start! Will be watching for the completed painting. And as I mentioned yesterday, I'm waiting to see the BT portrait too! :evil:


Deborah Secor
09-01-2004, 07:51 PM
Tammy, you didn't really ask for any C&C on this one, so I'll hold back. I have a couple of suggestions, if you want to hear them! But I want to tell you that I think you really caught the color and value of those mountains well. I know you said they're a little brighter here but I think they look very good. I paint this landscape all the time and you have a nice beginning going here!


09-01-2004, 11:48 PM
Tammy, this has come along quite a bit more since I last saw it. You've got very nice distance on the mountains. Post more progress.

09-02-2004, 12:09 AM
I have only painted en plein aire on a few occasions for variety of reasons, ......the effort involved to pack up, unbearable humidity, getting to location. fight bugs, etc,,mainly I'm lazy......I say all this to emphasize my appreciation for your work. I think the quality of this wip is great and am sure your going to make a winning painting!

09-02-2004, 09:59 AM
Thanks everyone. And Deborah, go ahead & make any suggestions. I guess I just didn't think to say it. :wave:

09-02-2004, 09:41 PM
I've been building up the layers in the foreground.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Sep-2004/3341-southSantaFemtnscactus4paintingwip.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Sep-2004/3341-SantaFemtnsWCwip.JPG

09-02-2004, 09:50 PM
Tammy, I think your piece is wonderfull!! I am a student , what is an open stroke.

Deborah Secor
09-03-2004, 10:20 AM
Hi Tammy--sorry it took me till today to get back, but here I am again... :wave:

I mentioned that I really like the color of your mountains :) , but if I were you I'd reconsider the size of them in your composition. I think you may have had happen what so often does on location--we get interested in some aspect and it GROWS a bit. So if this were my painting I think I'd consider carving a little off the bottom of the mountains. (You didn't tell us what paper this is, but if it's Wallis you have plenty of tooth to go yet, so layering will be easy.) By making the mountains a bit smaller you allow the space to increase, so the sense of distance is greater.

The other thing I want to suggest is that you be brave and lay down some real color in the foreground! Squint your eyes as you look at your photo and lay down one color to represent the entire swath of foreground. Oh, by the way, this should be a color you find on any commonly used color wheel. No gray or beige or brown... I'd choose a color that is predominant, and one that's more in the middle of the colors I see there, knowing you'll layer other colors over it. As I look at your photo (which isn't the same as being there, I know, but is all we have to go by now...) I'd choose a medium yellow green. Use an open stroke (FYI, that means using the side of the pastel stick, frump, usually a big, sweeping, gestural stroke) to lay it in over the entire ground plane, excluding the bushes you've already established. Tammy, I also suggest you lay in these colors before you start doing a lot of little flowers and bushy details things...so I'm sort of suggesting you might either backtrack here, or try this in another painting.

Then I'd take a lighter, slightly cooler yellow green and lay it in for the distant ground plane, and a warmer, slightly yellower color for the grasses and flowers in the near foreground. Then find all the little grasses and bushes... I always tell my students that doing the details first is like washing the windows of the car before you wasn the car--you're just gonna have to do it again!

Well, it's a lot to suggest, I know, so feel free to ignore me here. ;) This is a nice painting already and captures the time you were there. As I said, maybe you want to try this in another painting because it's always good to have a record of what you saw while on location, instead of changing the whole thing!

Hope some of this helps... have fun! :D


Oh, and hi to frump--glad you joined us! Welcome to our forum!! Feel free to ask any questions... :wave:

09-03-2004, 11:16 AM
Thanks so much Deborah. I did try to lay down a yellow green but maybe I did it with too light a touch. I'm using Canson Mi Tiente. I will think about how much I want to backtrack. :D but it's still great learning from your suggestions. I noticed yesterday my mountains were a little big & started thinking about what I wanted to do with that. I may do another like you said. I used to do two alot - one for practice & one to make it better to save, sell or give away. lol
Thanks again, Tammy

09-04-2004, 01:09 PM
I think this is gorgeous, but yiou have gotten some really good advice and i am looking forward to seeing how it devlops from that advice :) :clap:

09-04-2004, 06:19 PM
I shortened the mountains & the bushline in the distance. I've done some grass stems, etc. I've misplaced my bright yellow the flowers so I haven't done any more of that yet. What do you think of it now? Should I still start over & try a new one with Dee's suggestions? If I do, I may not want to spend much more time on this one. Decisions! Decisions! lol

09-04-2004, 07:13 PM
I LIKE this one, but what do I know!? But there's no law that says you can't do TWO variations, is there?

Kathryn Wilson
09-04-2004, 07:40 PM
Hi Tammy - :wave:

I see a couple of things I can add here - if you lighten the sky at the bottom to a lighter blue (I tend to use a very pale yellow or very pale pink), you could soften those mountains even more (right at the edges).

Also, at the base of the darker mountain, you might want to darken that a bit too and blend that into the lighter part. By blend, I don't mean with the fingers, but gradually make it darker to lighter.

I think the darker brush in the distance looks good and that tree on the right has good darks and mid tones.

What I am missing here is color in the front. See those whitish bushes - when you get done laying your base color in, try taking the palest of turquoises - and I mean very pale - and see what that does to liven up those plants and give color to the foreground.

I don't think Dee was saying to do another - but to keep these suggestions in mind for the next painting that you do. I think this one is well worth more work.

09-06-2004, 01:00 PM
Thanks Kyle. I've done a little of what you suggested but didn't get to paint yesterday. Maybe today!

09-06-2004, 04:09 PM
I'd keep working on this and then maybe try another using Deborah's suggestions.
I agree that the front needs more work but it is really coming along nicely.


Kitty Wallis
09-06-2004, 04:28 PM
Hi Tammy,
The thing I'd like to see addressed is the color shifts you've made from the photo to the painting. In the painting the mountains are much bluer and the forground is much greyer. The result is an odd flattening of space and a feeling of grey day.

I suspect this ia a problem of not having the color you want, so you've compromised in those directions. I suggest softening the color of the mountains and brightening the color of the grasses as Deborah suggested. You can use a brighter yellow green than you expect since all the little details will soften the color.

09-07-2004, 05:37 PM
I think I'm close to finishing this. The greens are a little brighter in the photo than real life. What do you think of the cactus bush? the sky? Are the flowers too bright in the midground? C&C of anything else is welcome too. Thanks.

09-07-2004, 05:56 PM
this has come a long way!! I'd say you're almost finished. One suggestion...the foreground bushes are about the same size as the middle ground bushes and grasses. Increasing their size a bit and brightening the color a bit would really give you more depth.

...and yes, that cactus plant is great!

Deborah Secor
09-07-2004, 07:16 PM
Tammy, what you've done is looking really good. It's stronger all the time! I just think that more might be even better. Your mountains are good and the cholla cactus and juniper look great. But if you were in my classroom right now I'd tell you to be brave and suggest you even go as far as this:


Now, I know you probably won't go THIS far :wink2: , but I wanted to show you that farther is okay... It makes the blues bluer, the darks darker and the distance recede more. (My students sometimes turn various shades of pale when I ask if I can add a little color to the painting, so I understand if you're blanching! LOL At least this is only digital!! *Note: I always respect a student's desire to have me keep my cotten-pickin hands offa the painting, though!)


09-09-2004, 05:35 PM
Deborah, right after I posted I was thinking it could use more color, brighter in the ground area. I don't know if I can do it without messing up the grasses & weeds. lol I'll probably try when I get back to it. Today I had an attack of spring cleaning. lol Thanks for helping!

Deborah Secor
09-09-2004, 07:10 PM
Oh, I sure wish spring cleaning would attack me--it never has. Come to think of it, I wish it would attack my husband and son! Even fall cleaning would do... Hmmm, not likely.

Tammy--take what I've suggested and use it now or try it on a second one, or just save it for a sunny day painting... I know I really overdid the color! I've become downright brazen in my color use lately, though, so take it or leave it! Just have fun. :wink2:


09-10-2004, 01:36 PM
I hope I haven't gone too far with the color. I tried to perk it up but still look right. It is sort of a desert, after all. My painting is a little lighter in real life. anything need adjusting?

09-10-2004, 02:29 PM

It is wonderful!!!!


09-10-2004, 02:46 PM
Hi Tammy, I've enjoyed watching the subtle changes on this painting, I really like the way you've brightened up the foreground some more, it seems to add more depth to the painting. BTW if you haven't already looked at Deborah's ESP on foregrounds its wonderful. Hope all is well with you and yours.

09-10-2004, 02:56 PM
Nifty, cool, wow, yay, etc.! Now wasn't it fun to do this from a photo you took in good company recently? Kinda like extending the experience a bit... This is just lovely and I think you carried out a lot of Deborah's tips on foregrounds with this already!

Frame it!

Deborah Secor
09-10-2004, 04:20 PM
Hey Tammy, it looks great, as everyone has said! Hope you're happy with it!


Kathryn Day
09-11-2004, 01:57 PM
:clap: Tammy, this really turned out beautiful. It really says "New Mexico".

Kathryn Wilson
09-11-2004, 02:08 PM
Tammy, you really worked hard to get this just right. :clap: