View Full Version : Family of Cottonwoods/Studio WIP

08-13-2005, 01:16 PM
This is the 30 by 36 version of the Family of Cottonwoods from earlier last week. It is in the build up stage. I have found it easier to work larger painting with a wash then building layer on top of one another to get to the point of larger thicker paint application, nothing new though :wink2: Just new for me!!!!

The study 10 by 12, oil in linen, limited palette.

The studio version 30 by 36 oil on strechted linen, limited palette.
Here is the second stage build up from the foreground to the main trees. The distant tree line and the sky havent been worked other then the wash.

Please let me know what you think!!!!!!


08-13-2005, 04:01 PM
Ben, that's a big canvas, at least bigger than I'm used to - way to go. The start's looking good. Are you going to stay with a limited palette on this?
As far as the wash goes, it makes sense, especially when you're working from a sketch and you need to scale things at first without going in thick and just having to scrape off mistakes.
How do you like working the foreground and middle ground first and then going into the background? I'm working on another one now and darned if I'm not doing it opposite - thicker in the background sky but still leaving a wash in the foreground.
Whatever you're doing it's looking good. You've got an honest representation of the sketch, but it's already looking more realized. Looking forward to the next evolution.

Bart W
08-13-2005, 04:07 PM
Well, I think it looks good! Great start. The colours are already pleasing. I know you haven't worked on it yet, but I'm a bit concerned about the straight line at the top of the background line of trees. On the foreground I find the triangel on the right (to me) rather too clear at the moment. It looks also to me as if it might look ever better if it was a little less big and when it would be somewhat more horizontal.
I like the fact that the two trees on the left overlap in your PA and you possible planned to do that in your studio work as well.

It's probably a bit too early in the picture to suggest those things as you probably feel that you haven't really started yet... :)

08-13-2005, 05:14 PM
I was reading alot of Scott Burdicks approaches and found his is an allover approach and works from area to area. I used to start with all darks and in which case I did here and move to middles and lights.


I am working the distant tree line right now to tell the truth and am going to make it alot different. The line is harsh and its just a start!!!! Ill be posting as I am working!!!!! Keep looking!!!

Thanks to both of you for commenting


Bill Wray
08-14-2005, 02:04 AM
By choosing such a simple composition you have put a lot of pressure on yourself to make all the elements work. The trees and background work pretty wel,l but the ground plane is a bit uncontrolled ( design wise) I think you really need to design the the ground to lead into the trees or something.

08-14-2005, 12:14 PM
Bill, thanks for commenting. I think that the slope from right to the middle and the middle to the left and the left to the right is working with me. I played with that for a while and working that issue out in the painting right now. This is in its early stage and at a point where things can be altered a bit. I am happy with the foreground design but not the way I have represented it yet. I thank you for your suggestion.


08-14-2005, 10:43 PM
Hey Ben! Nice start. I won't say anything about the straight line on the top of the mountain :) I'll just cheer you on and agree that the colors and foreground grasses are looking mighty nice. Don't forget to anchor that middle tree.

08-14-2005, 11:01 PM
Thanks Brian. I am liking this soo far. It is really wet and I am gonna leave it for a week or so. I turned it around and wont look at it till next Monday or so. i have been beating my brain about what was said about the foreground. I agree I dont like the way it looks right now application wise but still like the design of it. Hey motha nature isnt ever wrong is she? I am taking what is and was there when I painted the study and transforming that to what drew me to it. the diagonals for some reason there took me to the highlighted cottonwoods. I am a creature of horizontal habit, even ask M. Hanson.:>) and those diagonals from breaking hills drew me in and broke the darks of the distant treeline base. well, Ill leave it for a few days, and will be back with some stuies tomorrow. Thanks again for every comment everyone.

Bill You had the gears runnin and thats what made me turn it around and leave it!!!!!, it is probably better this way!!!! It leaves me to decide later then now and not ruin it. hah ah ah hha !!!



08-15-2005, 03:02 AM
Hi Ben,

I have a similiar looking plein air positioned in my paintbox. In fact almost identical. The critique I got from my mentor was the same as given here. In fact my mentor said, "Just throw it away!"

For sure, the piece is not going into the trash. Initially, for about an hour and a half my mentor was not at the location. It was an interesting morning that set the inspirational tone. There was a heavy fog when I set up. After a few minutes when the sun came up, there it was....the way the light and fog just interacted, intertwined whatever, hit those trees. It was beautiful.

My limited experience was the actual teacher that particular morning. The sunlight just waxed and waned. Torment.

Perhaps traveling back to the location at the same time of day will help.


Will watch your progress.