View Full Version : In progress - be ruthless.
09-17-2005, 09:26 PM
I'm finding that there's a lot to like about revising plein air -( this is only about my third so far.) Most of the hard decisions made - the fun of pushing paint left... But I really tend to get stuck. Outside there is always something else to see and be inspired by, and I'm so busy painting like a crazy woman I don't have time to stew or stall.
Here, I'm stewing and stalling.
the PA is 9x12 and I like most things about it.
The studio is 18x24, and for some reason it's painting like pulling teeth. I'm interested in fine points of revision, or blunt and savage critique - for some reason I'm about ready to throw this one out a window. Maybe I've just looked at it too long.
(I think the little one is the left hand image)
09-18-2005, 04:09 PM
the p/a is really nice, i think in the larger piece there is too much detail in the b/g trees. and it's also missing the yellow and orange middle ground color. i think you are on the right track, just a little tweaking needed.
09-18-2005, 11:47 PM
I'm struggling with the larger one's to. Remember to keep it simple, the first one is a little stonger.
09-18-2005, 11:59 PM
I really like both the original painting and the studio enlargement. I kept scratching my head and asking, what is bothering her? But after looking a bit, there are four things:
1) You could use some atmosphere on your farthest line of trees. That's somewhat minor. The colors are a little brighter in the grass in the original, but I don't think that's a real issue.
2) The grass on the left looks like it's "flowing". I think its because it has an almost perfect curve and no grass texture on it. When you look at the original, it has a flatter feel and surprisingly, more texture.
3) I had to look hard to see this, but now I can't help but see it. The original has a placid relaxed feeling all over. In the studio, you've acheived the same beautiful reflections in the lower pool, but the upper right pool is less relaxing. Why, I wondered. Even though there are reflections, the studio looks hazy, rather than calmly deeply colored like the original. But there's more. The studio seems to have motion, like it's moving to the center. If you look there are at least four sloping lines coming from the upper right pool to the lower center pool. Combine that with the sloping grass above (2) and the viewer may unconciously feel things are sliding down into tha lower pool. Compare this to the original. The original has horizontal lines which are represent stability, calm and placidness. This is most evident in the upper pool, but is actually present in many places in the painting. Could this be what is bothering you?
4) Finally, the common deep colors between the two pools in the orginal seem to indicate there is actually one flat pool. But the feeling in the studio is there are two pools separated by a trickle over the rocks. (Illustrated below) This may be because of the color difference mentioned in (3). Maybe this, too is bothering you.
My two cents, respectfully. Hope its helpful.
Original below showing lines:
Studio below showing sloping lines and curves:
Original below showing single pool:
Studio below showing two divided pools.
09-19-2005, 10:16 AM
Thanks for your ideas, all.
Serra, you are right about the stronger yellows and oranges, I kind of thought I better tone down the second one, I was afraid it would be too loud as a bigger painting. It might need those stronger colors to contrast with the deep water colors.
Bill - from the look of the work on your website, I can't believe you are struggling with anything! Keep it simple is good advice, and *hard* to do!! As was mentioned in regard to the trees, I liked the p/a although the trees felt a little clubby and clumsey when I reproduced them large, so I tried to 'finesse" them a little, and they got fidgetty rather than more realistic like I was hoping for.
Brian - you are just the sort of analytical guy I needed, here. I think you hit my troubles on the head with #3. Everything sags to the lower center of the image. Trying to understand myself, the discomfort I felt, I noticed that there seemed to be a "valley" of sorts, but I talked myself out of it, thinking "well, it is a stream, after all." I hadn't realized that I'd even carried the "sag" to the underwater rocks, etc. I'll work on some of that structure, and see if I can flatten things out some. I also think I'll revise that center group of rocks near the grey break in the grass. (It was a gravel bar, but I'm not sure it's reading as one) I think I prefer the one lonely stone in the original. Did you circle that pair of trees because they have a different texture than the others? Maybe I ought to soften them, too.
It's amazing to me that this is so darn hard. Thanks so much for your ideas, all. It's so kind of you to spend so much time helping. I'll post the next phase.
09-19-2005, 01:46 PM
I'll work on some of that structure, and see if I can flatten things out some. I also think I'll revise that center group of rocks near the grey break in the grass. (It was a gravel bar, but I'm not sure it's reading as one) I think I prefer the one lonely stone in the original. Did you circle that pair of trees because they have a different texture than the others? Maybe I ought to soften them, too.
I circled the trees because they appear greater distance perspective wise, so you may indeed want to consider a little bluing, softer edges, and less distinct detail than the closer trees. If you're planning to add similar detail to the closer trees, you're probably OK.
It was not clear to me from the original that I was looking at a river/stream. The motion from the upper pool to the lower one would be OK if it is a river. We expect rivers to move. In that caseBut then I might try to add other visual cues that you intend it to be moving. For example ripples over the rocks from the upper pool to the lower, or ripples in the lower pool? A clearer cut in the top of the "S" of the river so the viewer knows it comes from there. You could drop that long sliver of grass below the cut line or even eliminate it all-together, leaving the rock slab to indicate the path of the river (try that in photoshop, first.)
09-24-2005, 09:49 PM
After the revisions -
I darkened the water, re-painted that with more depth of color, revised the surface rocks somewhat, flattened or leveled out some of the sloping lines (Thanks, Brian, I think that really helped.), softened and cooled the pair of trees near the opening, and sundry other fiddling around. I like it better now. The willows still bug me a little, something about their shape, maybe, or flatness, but I'm against a wall for a show, so it's going. Thanks for your help, I'll post all three versions.
Tom's Cabin, Labor Day
Plein air o/p 9x12,
Studio version, stage 1 o/c, 18x24
Same painting, stage 2
09-24-2005, 11:05 PM
I should have mentioned that c&c are still welcome - there's always something to learn!
09-25-2005, 06:50 PM
I like it. It feels much more calming now, to me. I think the flat areas help, especially the grass on the left. I like the rich, deep colors in the right pool. The refelctions are wonderful. Great improvements. :clap: :clap: :clap:
09-25-2005, 10:15 PM
When & where is your show?
09-26-2005, 10:57 PM
Thanks for the clappies, Brian. You were a big help!
When & where is your show?
Thanks for asking Sarah - it's nothing super-duper... this will be my second annual self-promoted show at our library, here in Pinedale. I'm showing with my sister-in-law, who is a photographer. I'm hanging it this week, with a reception Friday, and then the art will stay up for the month of Oct. I'll post some photos.
09-27-2005, 01:23 AM
I'll look forward to the photos. If you ever have a show in Laramie, we'll be there!
09-28-2005, 02:11 AM
For what it's worth, the spontaniety of working outside and capturing the moment and keeping it loose is a quality that I like better than the more deliberate images that seem to create problems in the studio. The water looks great but I like the looseness of the very first plein air image better than the last, tighter version. I'm a fan of impressionism, though, so that's only natural. My goal is to try to stay spontaneous and quick in the studio even if I'm using photo reference instead of painting from life...but it's so hard. When you paint from life, it's always better than the studio because you can labor and overwork paintings in the studio so easily.
10-04-2005, 04:44 AM
“A beginner must clear his mind of all preconceived notions as to what style he will imitate .He must start as a savage looking at nature, unencumbered by the past, and use his eyes as though he were seeing the world for the first time He must not be afraid of the stumbling process, which is normal in his struggle to understand and translate what he sees.” Henry Hensche
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