View Full Version : Italian Town

01-08-2005, 04:39 PM
This is a commission that my brother in law asked me to do. Here you can see a photo of his home town in Italy and my work in progress. The canvas is 18 x 24" - I've primed in gray, and now blocked out the main shapes. I wasn't thrilled with the photos that I had to choose from :::shrug:::::but.....

Do you see major pitfaills? Is the comp ok?

01-08-2005, 10:08 PM
the lovely photo has some very striking color areas and progressions of sweet colors on the buildings tumbling and spilling ecstatically down the hillside.

most striking and most missing are the shadowy leaves around the top
making the edges sing.

most present in the painting but missing in the photo are
a cloudy kind of sky and a single blocky shape for future buildings instead of the giddy dance of colors that go there.

this is early enough to start again, just put any color you feel on top of any color you feel.

I like that you are not drawing first.

splash some more colors in as soon as possible and save all fussy stuff until the end (maybe never).

keep looking at the photo for inspiration, put some color where anything is beautiful, dare to use some blue for sy areas too.

everything can be changed until the last brush stroke.

01-09-2005, 12:11 AM
This gray paint - which I never used before - underneath is soaking up the paint.... and it doesn't spread like it usually does.
Having fits over the sky - its so solid I may need to get out of Ohio and see what a sky without clouds looks like :p
Will probably do the buildings with a knife.
In my painting the town doesn't look as steep as it does in the photo.
I was thinking of omitting the leaves that come down to frame the top....I was afraid they would make it look too postcard-y ??

01-09-2005, 01:25 AM
Kathleen, I think that you are on your way to a very sucessful painting! The foreground in the photo bothered me, but you are dealing with that very well in your painting. I also agree with you that the leaves would make this look very "postcardish." But maybe I am wrong. I would like to hear what others think about that. The ref photo is very flat so I am looking forward to seeing what you do with the shadows and contrast. Grat start :) Jim

01-09-2005, 03:14 AM

I'm absolutely "inamoratissima" with Italy (meaning extremely in love)... I've been there so many times and this such an authentic country ...
I echo Jerry's comment as to the inspiration of the photograph and that of Woodguy about the "postcardish" thingy.
Make it your own painting be it impressionist or expressionist ...
Buon proseguimento ! :clap:

01-09-2005, 11:19 AM
I like your loose free block in....looks like you are on the right track...I like your sky...look forward to your progress! :)

01-09-2005, 01:11 PM
Your encouragement means the world to me.
My task is two fold - produce a beautiful painting but also maintain enough realism so they can see their house. (Which he assues me is 'just to the left of the church, the one with the balcony. :rolleyes: )
BTW the town is called Mongrassano.

01-09-2005, 01:27 PM
eventually small details can become meaningful
the large masses (let them be messes) have to come to life first

01-09-2005, 10:29 PM
A few more hours into it..... worked the greens some more and blocked out buildings. Next I'll go back and make sure I'm consistent with my lights and darks. I figure the sun is about 1:00

01-10-2005, 11:11 AM
This is an interesting one to watch. It's hard to tell because of the angle of your camera in the last shot but are all the roofs parallel to the bottom of your canvas? It looks like they should be from the photo.
What a challenge, but you are handling it well :)

01-10-2005, 01:06 PM
Hi Kathleen, :wave: I am watching this one. ;)
Italy paintings are totally my thing...
It is looking super overall, and the greens are looking very great.
I think you did a good choice not to add the leaves on the top.
So far a nice atmosphere is building up just great!

01-10-2005, 01:09 PM
You're getting there & I really am enjoying your progress! The houses could be tedious but you still have a loose enough look to them! :)

01-11-2005, 08:47 PM
Another couple of hours into it... here's a closeup on the church area and one of the whole canvas.

01-11-2005, 10:56 PM
Great Spderbabe :clap: really like the progress and your sharing with us all your pictures.
are you using oil?
are you using a knife on the buildings as you mentioned?
keep the pictures coming.

01-13-2005, 07:23 PM
Another day, another house. Actually I trimmed the trees back a bit. Still trying to get that sense of height. I think the trees may need a bit more definition, still looking like the green blob.
Rodney - I started with a knife and defined buildings but I couldn manuever the tight angles so I switched to a brush after a while.
And Shirley - I think I have my roofs level.
I'm sorry if its a bit blurry - heck I'm an artiste not a photographer. :angel:
will try to do better.........

01-13-2005, 07:39 PM
I quite like the foreground and I think the outline of the tops of the trees particularly pleasing!! :clap:
Cheers Kim

01-13-2005, 08:06 PM
What a gorgeous village! You've done a great job so far. The buildings and sky look good. I can relate to what you're saying about Ohio skies, having been born and raised there myself. We have lots of clouds here in Oregon though -- wish I could send you some.

The foreground doesn't do much for me. It takes up nearly half the painting, but I can't tell what's represented there. In the photo there's a distinct foreground and middleground with a hint of a road or something between the two. Maybe it would be good to break up the big mass of green that now looks like a giant foreground. The middleground has a sense of atmospheric perspective due to the more muted/bluish green tones in the photo.

01-15-2005, 06:41 PM
OK - here's where I am now. I know some of the houses need new roofs but I'm back to struggling with the leaf fringe question. I didn't want to put it in but now I think it may add something... a sense of distance, a reference, a break in all that blue. wadda think? Here's the painting:


and here it is after I PhotoShop-ed some greenery in (like the original photo has)


01-16-2005, 02:26 AM
At this point when almost finished it's difficult to add more comments.
I had a look at the original photograph again and when squinting I see better tonal values than in the painting. I think the sky is too blue in your work, another lighter glaze perhaps ? And in between the houses, more shadows ? Tone down the green with some yellows ........ don't know really. As to the added photoshop greens in the right top I'd just suggest it, not too detailed .......

Oh dear, who am I to comment on this ... it's all very personal. Take it for what it's worth :)

01-16-2005, 05:40 AM
Hi Kathleen,
You're doing a great job. :clap:

I'd like to make a suggestion that you add some white into the blue of the sky as it nears the horizon.

01-17-2005, 06:09 AM
Looking great Kathleen, you sure have done much more work. Enjoying your WIP.
I am not sure about adding those leaves in the corner...It does look nice though..
How about asking your brother in law which he likes best... :wave:

01-18-2005, 07:41 AM
I can live with this color sky.....and I did sketch in the leaf fringe..... anything more that can be done?


01-18-2005, 09:57 AM
oh Kathleen, it think it stunning
your little houses turned out marvelous
and I think the green hill is extremely done.
Sky is very good too..a fitting blue.
I must say I do like that bit of leaves..showing..very soft and fitting.
I feel like I am really there, up close to the moutains gazing at the beauitful Italian village.. :clap:
Sign it...Its finished. Your brother in law will be very pleased.

01-18-2005, 11:04 AM
Good finish, Kathleen :) The sky is so much better now.

01-18-2005, 11:14 AM
Kathleen!! Really wonderful painting!! Nice depth created in the homes!! That was quite a challenge that you did outstanding on!! :)

01-26-2005, 05:36 PM
I have a comment which I hope will help you.

The first question to ask yourself are you painting the hilltown with bits and pieces of surrounding land/sky or are you painting green "stuff" that is near the hilltown?

I think you meant to paint the former but you composed the latter. This is a common practice when people slavishly copy photos. I suggest you begin again and use the photo ONLY to layout the buildings in the hill town. Make that the center of interest (brightest spot, largest area, greatest value range in your painting). Then roughly sketch out what adjoins the hilltown, but keep it very secondary. I think if you do that you will be more sure you are doing the "right thing."