View Full Version : Lake Tahoe My Second Painting-WIP

07-02-2005, 01:10 PM


Title: Lake Tahoe My Second Painting
Year Created: 2005
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 9 x 12
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Hello :O)

This is my second attempt at oil painting and although I am enjoying every minute it's rather nerve wracking - every time I move on to another area of the painting I find myself saying, "I hope I don't ruin it!".

I'm not finished yet, there's still a lot to work on but thought I'd post an image of it to see if you think I am headed in the right direction - and since I have no experience or education in art every step is a learing experience.

I'm also posting the reference photo that I took while at the lake...it was taken from the 15th floor of a hotel.

All critiques are most welcome!! It's the only way I'm going to learn :)

07-02-2005, 02:04 PM
This is excellent since it's still in progress.
A real fine art style painting.
When squinting at your painting and the reference photo you might consider to add "the light" ...
Good Luck and what a beautiful place !

07-02-2005, 02:24 PM
Thank you Gilberte :) I understand what you mean - add "the light" ...
squinting makes the light areas of the reference photo "pop" out!

07-02-2005, 03:51 PM
I agree you can give more light and perhaps don't cover the hill with so many trees to avoid a mass effect.However I can say to you for an attempt it's a very good attempt!..

07-02-2005, 08:34 PM
I really like the way this is turning out! The Tahoe area has a lot of great scenery for painting. After seeing the reference photo, the foreground in the painting looks a little bare to me. You may want to consider adding a few of the trees to it.

07-02-2005, 08:52 PM
clementine - Thank you for your comments! I completely re-worked the hillside - you were right, it needed to look more sparsely covered with the trees. :)

PaulMcD - Thanks so much for your post, I have been waiting to add the trees - actually I am nervous about adding the trees since I have never painted pines and once again I am a bit hesitant because I don't want to have this painting end up in the trash bin :eek: :D

Ah, well, it is all a learning experience, I am learning how different brushes achieve a particular result, mixing colors etc... there's so many amazing artists here & frankly you all make it look so easy! LOL I know it is not, but I am certain that I have the preserverence, passion & desire to carry me forward :)

Again, thank you all for the feedback & critiques, it helps me more than you know!

07-03-2005, 12:07 AM
TerriMarie...welcome to WC and the OC forum...:wave:
This is really coming along nicely....since this is a WIP or work in progress I will move it to that forum at the top of this page. Folks there will give you more advice & when you finish it do post it here where finished painting are posted.

Don't worry about ruining it up, you CAN paint over it!:)

07-04-2005, 06:53 AM
Hi Teresa....and welcome to WIP....what a wonderful start...to a great painting...I really like the composition and subject...
cheers kim

07-21-2005, 01:43 PM
Well, it has been a while - and I am dying to pick up my brushes again after a week long vacation. I mentioned that I had re-worked the hillside and have created a base , but haven't added any trees yet, I also toned down the green, and attempted to add some "light" but it was difficult - I am going to work on it today.

Here's a picture of it as it is now ~ Does anyone have any suggestions before I mix my paint? :) I think I have gone too far with illiminating some of the green- :(


Thanks so much!!! :wave:


08-07-2005, 09:40 PM
A really nice working of the feel for the place. I agree you did remove too much green. You are losing the 'feel' of the lushness of the area around Lake Tahoe. maybe some more green in the forefront trees, a couple more dark green pines. Also some more green in the mountain in the back unless they had another of their August snow falls.
This is coming out very nicely.

08-13-2005, 07:21 AM
Teresa...I enjoyed reading your opening comments about fear of ruining...but, I love this line by W. Churchill...

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm!"
Winston Churchill

We learn from our failures...and ultimately really, an ultimate failing is to quit trying. There is that old saying, "you never fail until you quit trying!"

So... a failure in a painting is never permanent unless you quit. If you learn from it...instead of a failure it becomes like a seed planted into the ground which will lead to an eventual harvest.

I have often said that it takes 120 bad paintings to learn something about painting, and then some years ago I came across this quote from the grand Impressionist painter himself, Edgar Degas...
Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!

Reflect on that because if a person doesn't want to do what it is going to take (in our case, many possible failings) to succeed...they simply aren't going to succeed. As Degas advanced in his painting ability, each new understanding was as a key that opened a door to sudden new problems.

Painting is a growth process, not an arriving place.

Now...for your painting, I will give a few suggestions that are best perhaps stored in your understanding and hopefully set you off ready to do another painting.

I have made a graphic of your painting as thus...

In this painting you have the distant land mass meeting the downward slope of the foremost rounded ridge. The pines rise to meet in on both sides and slope away...thus creating a "X" that makes it very difficult for the eyes to try NOT to look at it. Once you see that "X"...you will see what I mean.

I have done a few things to illustrate a few points for you....


For one...I created a more distant set of ridges or mountains that expand the horizon and run into the foreground mass. I extended the foreground mass off to the side of the painting rather than slope down. To the eye, it is too strong a suggestion something is going on to the right side of the painting and risks taking the eye out of the painting altogether.

I cropped the painting....for one of the common rules of landscape is to try and avoid a horizon that goes across too much near the center of the canvas. Better that horizon line goes above or below...but not across the center. Since the sky has little going on and little to contribute to the narrative of the painting, it can be cropped down.

Now...notice too that I have softened your distant most edges significantly. Edges read as detail...and to see a thing too sharply is to suggest we can see it well. That burdens the artist to then have to paint everything closer to the viewer than that edge read as having that much MORE detail. By softening those mountainous edges, we push them back further in atmospheric perspective and it gives the rest of your painting more chance to pop dimensionally.

What photographs don't reveal very often is what color does coming to the viewer and away, or values for that matter. The thru the lens metering of a camera in favoring light and seeking to take a sharp picture shuts down the information, plus the film chemistry is not often kind to existing color.

I paint outdoors on location perhaps 80% of my time as a painter after 25 years painting instudio. What I presumed and believed was greatly humbled after taking my portable easel outdoors!

Color is purer, brighter, stronger the closer it gets to the eye. It fades, and little by little certain colors in the spectrum die off. Yellow is the first color that leaves a mix...thus a green color slowly begins to look bluer going back into space. As the yellow fades in the green mix...blue is what is left for us to perceive.

Next to fade is the color red. Thus violet will slowly become bluer going back.

Values such as darks become lighter going back into space. So, the artist observing these things can take advantage. Knowing this often happens, you can even begin to look for it.

Often a young artist will say, "but I didn't see it!"

True...you sometimes have to know what you are looking for to see it.

For example...knowing you have to find someone in a very large crowd you can consciously tune out faces all around you having that mental image of that one individual in mind and suddenly, there he or she is!

Knowing that color cools going back and then looking for it...you will see that. Knowing values lighten going away, you will look for it, and begin to see it.

Now...on this particular day you have depicted there is no sun. That is fine, after all overcast days are a mood of nature and worthy of painting.

They are for most experienced painters the most challenging to paint. Let's face it...the sun creates shadows and drama that is sure to be intriguing.

There are a lot of subtleties in overcast days...and the artist has to catch the little nuances. I did take just a hint of the pines in the mid pine mass leading up to the slope, a section of pines in the back, and faded them just a tad to further strengthen the idea they are going back.

I added a slight hint of texture to the foreground grass to suggest it is closer because we sense detail. I also put a bit of purer color there to suggest it being closer. Again....color is purer coming near to the viewer.

Now...I hope this helps...doesn't discourage.

I paint between 200-250 paintings per year...AND hold a full time job teaching art in the public schools. You have to get over your fear of messing a painting up. Take a couple days and make yourself a bunch of painting panels. Get a 4'x8' sheet of masonite or hardboard....have someone (or yourself if you have a saw) cut it up into a bunch of preferred sizes. This board will cost about $12...and you'll get about 12 to 18 paintings out of it.

Buy some gesso...and some sponge applicators. Stack 'em so they are near by and remind you there is a lot of work waiting to be done!

Many artists, such as in the plein air forum...have committed themselves to doing one small study a day...of about a 5"x7" or 6"x8" size...just doing starts, blocking in masses, getting a sense of color and values. Painting is a form of communication, a visual language, and you have to drop yourself in the middle of a foreign country and force yourself to mix with the inhabitants to best learn this language. Drop yourself into this painting thing here Teresa, and don't hold back. Get dirty...let it happen!

take care


08-13-2005, 01:48 PM
This is why I love this web site and especially the WIPs forum; being a home bound disabled artist in the making (someday), I do not have the luxury to 'go' to an art class. I can learn so much right here. Larry, your web site is wonderful especially the step by step demos, a plethora of learning the craft. thank you

08-14-2005, 08:14 AM
Larry, WOW, a lot of food for thought! Every time I re-read your post I get more from it than the last time. The changes you made to the painting, although not radical, make a huge difference in it's appearance...Thank you for being so generous in taking the time to share your thoughts & experience. I have started a new painting & in this one have "loosened up" considerably, I'm gettin' "dirty!" LOL!

08-14-2005, 01:07 PM
thanks Imundiclan....and Teresa...my pleasure to be able to help. Its a learning process...and I think of Bill Murray's comedy movie "What About Bill?" and think, "Baby steps....baby steps"

work, have fun, laugh often...be patient, work some more.

take care


08-15-2005, 05:51 PM
Looking good terrimarie! Did you see Larry's comment about the X area. I agree with him about that area in particular it will soften it and the eye won't automatically go there like it tends to do.
My little picture looks a lot like lmundiclan because I am her and she is me. (couldn't remember my old sign in name so had to create a new one. Now I am back to the old LoriM.
This is so much fun.
thanks for this site.

Kimaris Kobal
08-22-2005, 10:17 AM
This is excellent since it's still in progress.
A real fine art style painting.
When squinting at your painting and the reference photo you might consider to add "the light" ...
Good Luck and what a beautiful place !

The squinting thing never worked for me. Whatever I'm looking at still looks the same except that now there are a bunch of eyelashes in the way! LOL

As for changing the horizon line (suggested by Larry), the cropped version doesn't work nearly as well for me. I'd much more readily buy the original version. Horizons in the middle are fine--it depends on overall content and context of the painting, and in this case the piece works just fine with the center horizon line.