View Full Version : Mud Bay Lopez Island

08-07-2006, 03:44 PM
This is my first pastel in a long time. I just got back from a wonderful vacation in the San Juan Islands and took many wonderful photos of Lopez Island. C&C's welcome. I never tried fields like this before.

08-07-2006, 05:05 PM
great perspective !! ... love your treatments of the distant trees, the line of trees, the field ... and the clouds too ... this painting really *works* ... to me anyway ... :):)

08-07-2006, 06:07 PM
Nothing like a good vacation to revive the desire to paint. This is very nice. Love the colors.


Paula Ford
08-07-2006, 07:23 PM
Terrific piece Shari! Your background trees are to-die-for!! Love the field also!

In regard to the trees on the left, they all appear to be the same color. I'm wondering if they should get lighter and paler in the distance?


08-07-2006, 08:07 PM
Shari, this is really a great painting-simple with unique perspective and nicely done!

08-07-2006, 10:41 PM
Thank you for the comments everyone!!! My husband took the photo and I worked from it, since he is a really great photographer. I know this needs more work so I appreciate all the help and I will post my progress. Paula, thanks for pointing out about the poplars, they look that way in the photo, but I should have done an on site sketch and noted how it really looked. I will fix that. It just feels good to get those pastels in my hands again. It's been a long time.

Deborah Secor
08-08-2006, 01:04 PM
Nice painting, Shari! I think your treatment of the rows of dirt is very effective, and I like the texture you've used to indicate the tree-covered hillside. I have one other suggestion, that's a compositional thought. It seems to me that the dividing line of the green poplars and the dark trees is much too centered. If this was my painting I think I'd eliminate one or two of the poplars, and let the edge fall a bit more to the left side. You might play with it in a photo program just to see how it looks, but I think it will give a bit more syncopation to the rhythms, and in a painting with rows of dirt and a line of trees the rhythms are very important!

Keep going--it's a really strong piece!


08-08-2006, 01:45 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I actually measured where that line came in the photo I worked from, because I originally had way more field and less tree line but I thought this looked better. I will play around in photoshop and see what I can come up with. You mean take away a couple of the furthest trees, right? This is when I wish I could be in the same room with you and watch you demo.

Deborah Secor
08-08-2006, 04:15 PM
Yes, Shari, I think if you remove one of the most distant poplars you might have more interesting rhythm. Or maybe add more... I suggest you turn your painting on its side and analyze it that way. Stand far enough away that it's not clear, but you're able to view it and think in terms of big shapes and values. Turn it all different directions and just think about the weight and rhythm of things, where the divisions fall and how that affects the feeling.

I always try to analyze rhythm...but maybe I should explain what I mean by that. I think of different shapes and values as expressing different speeds. Big areas of flat color are slow and steady feeling, while edges and details, or gaps between things, move you faster or slower. A lot can depend on what weight something is (which is tied to its value--dark things are heavy and slow, light things light and faster). My concern is with the centering and straightness of that key 'drumbeat' where the light of the poplars and the dark of the hillside behind meet.

I did a series of experiments to show you how I try to think. See what these show you... I turned it to grayscale, then onto all four sides. Then I shrunk the poplars and blurred the painting, and added some poplars and blurred it. I think looking at these thumbnails alone is fairly instructive, even without making them larger.

I sure hope this helps. I want to see what you decide to do! There's no 'right' way, just different decisions that make things interesting. I don't want to muddy things up for you, just try to show you how I help my student's think sometimes. You can't be here watching me paint, but we can still share ideas on how to do it! If you have more quesions, ask away. If not--go for it! Let's see what you decide is right for you.


Skateboarding Kid
08-08-2006, 04:23 PM
it looks very good on account i cant do pastel :confused: i think there messy lol
But i think its really good... i like the way the trees show wind.:clap:

Deborah Secor
08-08-2006, 04:37 PM
I agree--that windy look is part of the charm of this painting. Good point, Seth! (and welcome to our forum :wink2: )


08-08-2006, 06:36 PM

Wow, thanks for taking the time to explain all this; the concept is a bit abstract to me but I see the difference and actually like the flow that comes with adding more trees. At this time, I am going to leave it alone and sit with these ideas until I am clear about which way to go. Thank you for this valuable instruction. I wish I lived closer to you, I would sign up for classes right away!!!

08-08-2006, 09:50 PM
Wow - you never showed me that trick Dee - or perhaps I wasn't paying attention!

Shari - Lopez is a lovely corner of the US and you are so lucky to have been vacationing there. It's a summer dream spot and your painting catches that energy.

Well Dee - I don't get the instruction really.

Should we be doing this with all our landscape paintings? If I were to post one and had you do this for me - would you? I love the teaching you offer - taking that class with you was the best thing for me.


Deborah Secor
08-09-2006, 12:24 AM
Barb, I'd be more than happy to try to help you any way I can. I don't know that this is something you need to do with every painting, but it's one way to think about things. It might be easier to apply it to one of your own paintings than somebody else's... (Good to see you, by the way!)


08-10-2006, 11:21 AM
Here is a revised edition. Dee, I took your advice and got rid of the farthest tree (not sure if its farthest or furthest!) I like it better. What should I do about the clouds. This is how they look in the photo, but I would like to change the large cloud somehow. I had to restrain myself from making the trees look psychedelic, I wanted to turn them into autumn trees with a lot of color.