View Full Version : "Last Light on the Cottonwoods"
01-16-2002, 11:38 PM
Title: "Last Light on the Cottonwoods"
Year Created: 2002
Dimension: 6 x 8
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!
The distant mountains in the sunset light were showed no modeling-- they were flat-- but because I didn't get the skyline correct, they can look kind of like a cloud bank. I'll be fixing that.
MY QUESTIONS FOR THE GROUP:
I did this as a very small study for a larger painting, and I am looking for anything I might want to consider fixing or changing for the larger work (probably 16 x 20). All comments welcome! Underneath I posted the photo I was working from-- the sky is washed out in the photo, but in reality, it was that sort of very bright silver with a touch of blue that sometimes happens.
01-17-2002, 05:21 AM
Hi, I like the use of colour here it gives the piece a real nice feel.
Perhaps some of this colour could also be reflected in the river.
I am disturbed by the reddish range coming in at the near top right of the painting, though I cannot understand why. mjk
01-17-2002, 08:11 AM
Maybe it seems too looming, too large. I didn't get the shape of that range correct either, so I'll work on that. Also, the glow of the sun on the rock in the canyon there is actually more yellow, and higher value-- I'll work on that too. I'm trying to convey the real shape of the land-- that even though much of the river is unseen, I want the viewer to know that it snakes back, and actually passes between the middle ground mountains to the left and bluff to the right. Does that come through?
When I go larger, it will be easier to keep correct the major shapes.
01-17-2002, 11:58 AM
I like your painting but I have some questions: first, is your center of interest going to be the trees along the riverbank (those are brightest in the painting) or do you intend to emphasize the shapes of the trees further to the right, as in the photo? Whichever, seems to me you need to punch up the color of the trees in question to provide some visual interest and bring the viewer's eye to that point. Second, are you trying to emphasize the depth of the long, long landscape? If so, graying out (or bluing) the distant mountain shapes will help.
Last, to emphasize the sun's angle, you might also consider giving the river a very light value...sunlight bouncing on the water.
Overall, I like the start.
01-17-2002, 04:23 PM
Well, it depends how much of a "likeness" want. Now, the mountains appear closer. There is also an error in perspective regarding the river.
If you want a "likeness" I can suggest more things to do...
01-17-2002, 04:54 PM
My center of interest is the lightest trees to the far right, and I like how their curve kind of echos the opposite curve of the river. I do want to achieve as much of a likeness as I can-- except that I need to punch up the washed out sky, and maybe correct other problems associated with working from a photograph rather than life.
I just noticed-- but I think the mountains would appear more distant if I flattened out the vegetation at their base-- it's curved in my sketch. Drawing is my WORST PROBLEM!!!
Thank you for all of the suggestions-- I really appreciate the time everyone has taken to look and comment.
01-17-2002, 06:02 PM
There are a couple of things to look at in the photo.
On the right side, there are some overlapping trees where the trees gets smaller the further away they are. This is important in establishing the distance to the mountains. The small detail at the foot of the mountain is also important - it tells us that there are trees wayyyyyy over there...
Then, there is a somewht disturbing duality created by the similarity in shape of the two ranges. You made them even more similar in shape - must avoid to create a ping-pong effect between the two!
So, if you fix the drawing errors; look at the relationship between the bluer mountain on the left and the warmer mountain on the right... you have too much of the blue mountain, the smaller peak should be more to the left, and the perspective of the river - then the overall compostion works fine.
If you then increase contrast in the foreground, and reduce it in the background, plus loosing the detail in the distant mountains.
Create some overlapping yellow trees (smaller trees in the distance) on the right, and some overlap of trees (over river) etc, in the foreground ---- you would end up with something like this.
01-17-2002, 07:04 PM
Oh wow-- henrik-- that just helps enormously! I hadn't even noticed those trees receding into the distance on the right, or realized how the near and far peaks repeat each other too much. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Now, I think I'm ready to start this one.
01-18-2002, 04:49 PM
Rather than jumping to the big format, I did it again a little bigger, tyrying to incorporate the suggestions people made. I still didn't get the shape of the right hand bluff right-- exaggerated it's height, and quite possibly the sky should be lighter-- it's a bit darker than the water now. Also, the right end of the left bluff is too rounded, and should be darkened a bit.What do you'all think? I got the recession of the light trees into the background, but should have thinned the line more as it went back. Anyway, I think it's better now. Comments?
01-18-2002, 05:21 PM
Big improvement - you are soon there!! Agree with your own critique BTW.
Here are a few things to look at. See how your skyline goes more roller-coaster than in the photo; that goes for both ridges - you need to flatten them. Do you see it?
As the river makes the first turn; there is a well defined purple looking triangle - that looks disturbing. A little more tweaking of the curvature of the river would also be in place.
You managed to get the receding trees on the right side. Take a look again, and see how in the photo (and in my 'not so well done' edits in this area) the rate at which the trees gets smaller and smaller and how trees closer overlap trees further away. If you manage to get that effect it will help in determening how far away the mountains are - the smaller you make the furthest and smallest trees the further away the mountains must be.
Also look at where the blue and brown mountain meet - see how one sort of dissolves into the other in the photo. You have a more distinct end to the dark mountain on the left.
Did you notice that I put a much darker band at the base of the mountains extending across the entire painting, but it is not well defined so not to attract the eye too much - I made it more narrow on the right. I think that creates the illusion that there are some foothills, and thus, the viewer riegister this as yet another hint that the large mountains are even further away. (It is there in the photo as well).
And finally, look at how I pulled up some of the foreground trees to overlap the river. That also helps with establishing depth.
01-18-2002, 05:28 PM
All of your comments are a great help-- and I do see what you're talking about on all of them. I think I'm ready to pull out the big canvas and take a whack at it. Thank you so much!
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