View Full Version : New WIP

04-03-2006, 08:03 PM
Today I have been working on another painting similar to the one shown in the ESP Aerial perspective thread. I needed another painting to take to a different gallery -- and I have enjoyed the photos I took the day I painted on location here. There were bee hives, a little two-track roadway through the pasture, trees casting shadows, good paths of light and shadow. Not many times is a photo such a wealth of information.

So . . . the painting is done on Belgian Mist Wallis with an alcohol underpainting. The size is 16" x 20". I will do about four shots per post with info about what I did each time. If you see something I have missed -- please let me know -- it is not finished.

First, I lightly drew in the major shapes and massed in a blue with NuPastel for the sky:
I finished putting in NuPastel masses of color. I like to paint on red for green trees, also putting a warm lavender in for under the yellow grasses. Since I knew the distant trees would be "bluish", I laid in an orange.
This shot shows the underpainting after using alcohol and a soft brush to liquify the NuPastel. Then I had to wait for it to dry -- which is only about 5 minutes at the most!
Here I have started putting a light warm pink for the sky next to the distant trees -- and some blues for those distant trees.

I decided to do this - documenting the process - it helps me think about what I am doing and why. It gives me a forced break which makes me assess what I am doing and checking for obvious problems. Of course, that doesn't mean I didn't miss something! Help me if you see something!

04-03-2006, 10:33 PM
i'm just getting me some popcorn to sit and watch this painting develop! ... i'm looking forward very much to observe the approach you are demonstrating ... it looks like it will be a superb composition to me and instructional too, watching your technique ... thank you for doing this!!!

Kathryn Wilson
04-03-2006, 11:22 PM
Will be enjoying this one too ... room for one more Violet - :)

04-04-2006, 07:23 AM
Here I have added pinks and warm blues to the sky and I blended them together with one of the styrofoam popcorn packing pieces! I like the way these little things blend. Later I will add more "strokes" to the sky.

I added the middle distance field in an average color of light yellows and bluish/green. I started adding darks and middle values to the most forward trees and the little bee hives and some of the grass around them.

This is a little close-up so you can see more work on the trees -- adding the backlighting on the correct edges of the foliage. Still working on those bee hives - not wanting to add too much detail -- leave a little to the view imagination.

Here I have pretty much covered the paper with average colors of each of the masses. As you can see I don't get real heavy handed covering the underpainting. I want it to shine through later "just barely", but enough to give some life and variation to those colors.

I play around with different greens, blue-greens, mauve, yellow, burgundy, grey-blue for the trees. I have indicated some of the trunks and purposely put less dark in each receding tree. The road is coming along with regard to shape and where it is going. Hopefully I'll lose some of it to softer edges as it recedes. I know where the shadows of the trees are cast -- right now they have hard edges, but won't as I finish up.

Am I missing anything? As I stand back, I think the background trees are too much the same. I'll add some different sections to them. I also am not liking that one tree that sticks way up. I'll have to figure out what I want there compositionally.

04-07-2006, 08:00 AM
Here is what I had done to the painting! I then set it aside and tried to figure out what I want to do to the top of those distant trees. Also, assessing all the various elements -- foreground, is it strong enough, does your eye go where I want it to go, etc.! Here are some close ups too!

Those darn background trees!

Here are the bee hives and the way I put other color in the tree than just green!

And . . . here I am trying to decide how I want that shadow to look -- and I think I'll probably put some sunlight hitting the ground in a few spots inside the shadow -- like it is coming through some of the more open spots of the tree or down near the trunks.

I have changed those background trees that stick up, but evidently not uploaded it to the computer. Check back later. Remember, if you see something I have missed -- you know how it is -- we get so involved, we miss very obvious things! Tell me!

04-07-2006, 08:03 AM
Okay, I'm trying again to upload the first image in the post above. This is the full view as opposed to those parts.

Kathryn Wilson
04-07-2006, 08:27 AM
Marsha! Thanks for uploading all the close-ups. I like that mauvy color you put in the far left tree - will have to keep that color in mind when I am doing trees that are in shadow.

I am still not convinced on those background trees - and I am not sure what it is that is bothering me about them. And it sounds like you are not convinced either.

One thing that is confusing me is your focal point - I gather they are the bee hives - but the road seems to lead my eye away from them. Is it that you want the eye to go to the end of the tree line and then back again to the bee hives?

04-07-2006, 06:27 PM
Very Very helpful. I love to see the underpaintings. Thanks!

04-07-2006, 06:56 PM
I believe contrary to popular belief, not every good painting needs or has a "focal point". However, your bee hives are the lightest value in the painting and they are surrounded by some of the darkest values thus drawing my eye right to them - in a good way. The road to me appears to be coming towards the viewer rather than away from the viewer as the small tree at the end of the trail blocks my eye from falling out of the picture plane - another good thing. Have you considered reducing the intensity of the blue in the background trees? Making them more grayed blue/green? I think they'd set back a bit more that way. But once again it just might be my monitor, and you Marsha by now have it all figured out! lol


04-07-2006, 07:31 PM
Gorgeous painting! I can almost hear those bees buzzing!

04-07-2006, 09:58 PM
So lovely, as usual. You make it look so easy ... sigh


Paula Ford
04-08-2006, 11:21 AM

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this WIP with us. I always learn so much from them.

This is just gorgeous!! I love the composition, colors, and how my eyes just keep looking around and around this painting. I also believe a painting doesn't need a focal point, but love the added bee hives.

Loved watching this painting come alive!

Beautiful work as always!!

04-08-2006, 01:37 PM


04-08-2006, 01:49 PM
Gorgeous Marsha

04-09-2006, 02:10 PM
Thanks Kat, prettytulips, Binkie, Sooz, Leirrem, Dark Shades and everyone!

Kat, definitely I want people to wander around the painting -- travel down the road, look behind the trees, look at the bee hives, etc. But . . . tell me, when you first looked at the painting, where were your eyes drawn first?

Peggy, I have wondered about toning down the blue color somewhat. But . . . as I sit and look at it, I like the blue, I don't like the blue . . . you know how it goes. I have put in a grayer blue, did not like it, covered it back with the blues you see. It begs the question: "Will changing it make the painting 'significantly' better?" If the answer is "yes - significantly" then change it. If the answer is "not necessarily", then don't.

Also, am I painting it for the gallery for sales, or am I painting it for competition. That also could make a difference in what I would do. At this point, I am trying to paint more for the gallery on this particular painting . . . so . . . I'll most likely not change it. I find that people respond more to color, than subtlety (did I spell that right?). Though, even putting that in writing here, I know that there are many sophisticated art buyers out there that do prefer "subtle" versus "in your face color".

I've been away for a few days, so I do have an updated version to attach. I'll do that in a little while -- right now I was just checking my e-mail and there was a reply to this thread . . . so after a long drive, I just sat down to read.

Again, thanks for all your ideas and words of encouragement.

Kathryn Wilson
04-09-2006, 04:45 PM
Covering my head and running away from the brick bats you will be throwing . . . but honest to God, the first thing I saw was that tall blue tree. I think it might be because of the double shape? It emulates the green tree right under it.

The path led my eye to the green tree, then right up at the blue tree and stopped. I then went looking for the bee hives.

Sorry - I must has a maladjusted eye.

04-09-2006, 06:15 PM
I do understand. That was also my problem!!!!

I have taken the tree down in size, though it does still mimic the shapes of the middle ground trees. I might have to do something about that too -- but right at the moment, I am inclined to do nothing more at all to the painting -- that is unless someone points out something so overlooked that is bad.

Here is the version as it is now.

So . . . is that better? Also, I did not sharpen the image in Photoshop -- and the painting is a little sharper images than shows here!

04-09-2006, 07:10 PM

From all the paintings that I've seen here, done by you, this one is one of my favorites.
I like the used colours and shadows alot.
The depth of field is quite good.
The underpainting helps to unify the painting and beeing a complement to the green, gives it more appealing.

Kindest regards,


Merethe T
04-09-2006, 08:58 PM
Oh, this is beautiful......lovely, lovely colors, gorgeous greens.....and such a beautiful, peaceful place.......

Glad to see you changed that blue tree in the BG, it caught the attention of my eyes too. The fixed version is much better, and lets the eye focus on the trees and little bee hives.
Thank you for doing a WIP, very interesting, I learned from it......

04-09-2006, 09:05 PM

I'm still mystified by your choice of background colors. Do you randomly choose a background color? You used orange for the tree's in the background, but why orange? Same for the lavender under the grass. Is it complementary colors you are going for?


Bhavana Vijay
04-09-2006, 09:43 PM
Very exciting to see your painting develop!Its gorgeous!!

Kathryn Wilson
04-10-2006, 10:42 PM
:thumbsup: Mucho better!

04-10-2006, 11:20 PM
Wonderful painting:clap::clap: Thanks for sharing too:thumbsup:

04-11-2006, 01:26 AM
Marsha...enjoyed watching this develop...beautiful work!!

04-11-2006, 01:12 PM
Marsha, I like the overall colour choices in the picture, am a sucker for a bit of turquoise blue....but I have to say that I feel that the background blue tree bank looks a) too close to be quite so blue and b) too dense to be the same blue from top to bottom if it really is as close as it looks and c) a bit like a stage backdrop!!

I desperately want to see some more variety in those distant trees. Surely there would be some sense of even greater depth INTO the base of the tree mass...trunks, and shapes between, to make sense of that much height? And given all that height, I get a strong sense that the tree bank is closer to me than the colour suggests, in which case, there would be more green in that blue. I get no sense of trees behind trees, over trees behind and over other trees, just a huge, towering mass of blue.

Sorry to add a note of dissent here...but you did ask if we would say what we felt, and that is how I felt about it immediately.

I love all the rest, and feel sure you can sort out the background trees...if you feel so inclined. It is for a gallery, and someone might love it just as it is, and if you do, then just ignore me.


04-11-2006, 01:44 PM
I always enjoy hearing your views on what I have done. I also have struggled with trying to make some sense of those background trees. I have put in some greyed-down greens to give dimension to it, and then taken most of it out. I think maybe I have done okay with little bits of green for light and darker for shadow in those trees - along with some hints of limbs, etc.

Here is a view of the background trees on the right side:

Here is what I hope is the final version. I have tamed down that blue somewhat, created some spots of light coming through the trees and landing on the shadowed area, created a few trunks in those distant trees, etc. Tomorrow it will be framed!

I really do appreciate your input -- Jackie and everyone.

04-11-2006, 07:33 PM
I like what you have done to the background trees. I think your light in this
is excellent. Such a beautiful painting Marsha.


Paula Ford
04-11-2006, 07:50 PM
Marsha, I LOVE what you have done with the background trees. This painting is so beautiful!!


04-11-2006, 09:17 PM
What a beautifully warm and lush green place to be! The fix on the back trees is wonderful. Gorgeous work.

Alachua Artist
04-13-2006, 05:33 PM

and thank you for showing the early stages. Underpainting really adds a great deal of depth. I must learn to do this.

What alcohol are you using? oh pah-LEEZ don't say vodka!

04-14-2006, 06:03 AM
I love this, Marsha. It's so "summer morning". Thanks for posting this as a WIP. I appreciate seeing how (and when) you've used those beautiful colors.

04-14-2006, 12:22 PM
Thank you for the step by step!!!! Invaluable stuff and your painting is gorgeous!!