View Full Version : Second Original

03-11-2005, 02:28 AM
Hi Everyone
Please take a look at my second original painting, 'Pond In Nature'. I've used 8"x11" Canson Mi-Tientes, Mungyo and Faber & Castell soft pastels, Torchon and my finger for blending. It took approx. 15 hours to finish it. I used a reference photo for this painting.
Inviting veterans and otherwise to kindly suggest and advise on this painting.

03-11-2005, 09:37 AM
I am absolutely worthless for landscape advice but wanted to post and say hi :wave:

03-11-2005, 12:12 PM
I'm not a landscape painter either but for some reason that lake or pond looks flat.... hmmm... I defer to the experts....


03-11-2005, 12:50 PM
Thanks for looking Angie and Barb.
Barb, I took a look at the original, the photo doesn't completely do justice to bringing out the rendering done to the pond.
I wish those like Jackie or Deborah (our eternal wetcanvas saviours :) saw this and helped. I want to pm them now.
Thanks for your time anyway.

03-11-2005, 02:58 PM
Without seeing your reference, we can only offer advice about the painting before us.

Your mountains read well as distant, but the field that the lake is situated in seems to be all in the foreground. If that is true, then the lake could not be seen as such a small shape, nor as a rounded ellipse. It would need to lie down on the same plane as the field. If your perspective is aerial, then possibly, you could see the lake in its roundness. But if the perspective is aerial, then the field would show a lot more recession than it does.

Looking down on the field, you wouldn't see the blades of grass standing upright....you would see the tops of the grassy field as a mass. As the field recedes, you would see less distinctive strokes and cooler colors, too.

Now, if you are painting in a surrealist style, the fact that the lake stands upright might not matter. I'm no expert with surrealism but usually it would effect all of the painting...not just one area.

Light on the lake will also create distance and help it to lie down. Your lighter sky would be farther from you and the darker sky reflected would be nearer to you on the surface of the lake.

You're doing a great job with using your soft pastels. Landscapes can be difficult to interpret from photos sometimes because of color changes and depth perception eliminated by the photo. Just keep painting!!

03-11-2005, 04:02 PM
Carly has done a terrific job with advice here, everything she says is correct, (particularly the comment about how difficult it is to interpret landscape photos) and without seeing the original reference photo, it is not possible to add more comments that would be meaningful.

When anyone works from a photo, it is important to show the photo if they have any worries about their painting. No-one can help very much otherwise, we can only guess at what the landscape might have originally looked like, and guessing is not as good as being able to give proper constructive comment based on the original reference material.

At the moment, the sky is nicely painted, but to be honest, the pond looks strange, and although some landscape scenes ARE strange, it does make me wonder whether this is an accurate reproduction of the scene, or whether your drawing is, in fact, inaccurate. Please show the photo, and then, if the problem is with the photo, we can tell you so, and if the problem is the drawing, someone can explain what you could have done differently.(by the way - it does not need to be me- there are lots of terrific artists here who can help, like Carly, and lots of others)


Deborah Secor
03-11-2005, 04:30 PM
Hi Anoop :wave:

You did a good job of the reflection of the sky in the pond, and the colors in your foreground grasses are a nice combination with the yellows and yellow-greens in the fore.

I think what Carly said is right--the pond has a shape problem. I messed around with it in a program to show you what I mean. (Hope you don't mind!) When you make it a longer, flatter oval it looks more like it's lying flat on the ground to me. It should be pretty easy to fix, too.

Hope this helps... :D


03-11-2005, 06:29 PM
Thanks for your hugely helpful feedbacks Carly, Jackie and Deborah.
I think I need to improve my drawing and perspective issues here. I'm attaching the photo from which I painted this, I've taken a few things out and added a few in my painting.

03-11-2005, 11:56 PM
That does help a lot!!

One thing you should do is take a look at the relative sizes of each of the shapes in the photo itself...and then take a look at the relative sizes of the shapes in your painting. One reason the lake doesn't read accurately is that the size in comparison to the field and the mountains in the distance is much too small. The other is that the shape of the lake (as Deborah illustrated) needs to be flattened more to fit the shape of the plane which it occupies.

Although this may have been a beautiful scene to photograph, it's actually not that interesting (in my opinion) to create a painting with. You've done well with the scene but the problem is a lack of interest in the initial photo. Nothing in the lake or in the field to capture attention. It's almost too serene.

Several years ago I realized that my landscape paintings were sadly lacking in depth and value. I made the commitment to paint 100 landscape paintings that year on location so that I could learn more about seeing the light and studying perspective. At the end of the year, I had in no way learned all there was to know about landscape painting, but 115 plein air paintings that year did teach me that I had a lot more to learn :D I learned from each of those paintings valuable lessons that I've carried forward to each new painting.

You will learn much from every painting that you create, too. Carry that forward to each new landscape!

03-12-2005, 12:18 AM
Thanks Carly, I have gained very valuable lessons from you.
One thing I want to know as to what you wrote, the lake seems to dominate the photo, should I've made it bigger in my painting as well?
Just got back from your website, your work is so masterly, knowing what you wrote about what you did to gain valuable experience, its no doubt your paintings are so wonderful to look at.
Am honoured to be in such able company as yours (Including Deborah and Jackie too)

03-12-2005, 02:47 AM
once again, Carly's advice is perfect.

When you are working from a reference photo like this, it really is best to make sure that you stick to the same proportions. Making the pond/lake much smaller, has changed the landscape dramatically, and although it is sometimes all right to change small elements in a landscape - for example, leaving out an ugly telegraph pole, or making a road curve a little more, in general terms, when you do not have a lot of experience of painting and drawing, it is better to reproduce the main landscape elements as accurately as possible.

"Scaling up" from a photo to begin with, is a good way to start. Put a piece of tracing paper over your photo and trace over the main large elements.

1. draw a grid of squares over your tracing.

2. Then, on your pastel paper, create a very light grid, with exactly the same proportions. So, if your squares on your tracing paper are, say, 1" per square, then they could be 2", or 4". etc. on your big sheet of paper.

3. Then, draw the main elements of the scene exactly as you have them on your small grid. You can be confident that all the proportions will be accurate on your large paper if you copy exactly what is in each square.

This way, before you begin to add colour, the main elements of your scene are exactly right for size, and correctly in proportion. Here is an illustration:

The big paper has been "marked up", ready for the squares to go into place.

When you go out in the landscape to draw, as Carly did, you cannot use this easy method of scaling up. You have to "measure" what you see, and make sure that your landscape elements are the right size. Just in case there are readers of these posts who do not really understand measuring, I am going to reproduce some illustrations from an article I did a while back about measuring. It's a good lesson to work through.

To practice measuring:
1. choose a simple object, such as a shoe box or a cereal box, and place it, widest side down, onto a surface which is approximately at your eye level, so that you just see the side of the box, not the top.
2. Now, make a rough sketch, judging proportions by eye.
3. When you have finished your sketch, you can measure to see how accurate you were. We do this by checking the height and width of the box, and this is how. Use a long pencil, plant stake, or paintbrush, and lock your elbow when you hold out the stick. Locking your elbow is important.

Hold the stick so that it points up at the ceiling. Like this:


Now line up the tip of the stick with the TOP edge of the box, and slide your thumb down the stick until it lines up with the bottom edge. This give you your "unit of measurement". Close one eye to do this.


Now, keeping your arm out straight with elbow locked, twist your wrist so that the stick is parallel to the floor, and see how many times this "unit of measurement" goes into the width of the box:


In this instance, the height "goes" three times into the width.

Now, the important bit. Check your drawing. Does the height go three times into the width, in your drawing? It would not matter how big your drawing is, it only matters that the proportions are right.

Now when you go out to sketch, you can use this method to help you. See this odd little Italian house...its width goes three times into its height:


And when we go out to tackle landscape, it is very easy to get proportions wrong by eye. We see a distant field, and because we know a field is BIG, we make it too big. Look at this. See how narrow the strip of land is, by comparison with the beach:


If we do not measure things properly, they "grow" in our paintings, or "shrink", and this can make them look very peculiar. Haridisa69 ...If you look again at your pond/lake in your photo, and measure its height from "top" to "bottom", and compare it to its width, I think you will be surprised.

Measuring accurately is a very important skill for every figurative painter to learn, and I recommend lots of practice.


Mikki Petersen
03-14-2005, 01:50 PM
Jackie, thank you so much for this explanation. I always wondered how that measuring with a paintbrush worked. I understood using the paintbrush to measure a thing but then did not comprehend how to use that measurement on my painting. Now I know. :)