View Full Version : I'd like some help on this painting

01-14-2008, 01:13 PM
I don't know if this is according to rules or not, but I recently posted this painting in the Gallery and the more I looked at it, the less satisfied I was with it. I'd like your help in finding how to improve the painting and snow landscapes in general. Here is the painting:


I've recently turned to painting landscapes and since I enjoy them, I really want to improve them. Here is what I think I've done right or kinda right.
I have some depth in the image. I like my sky colors and the sky reflections in the snow. I'm also fairly satisfied with the foliage at the top left.

My biggest complaint is that it is not "painterly" enough--maybe too tight? too bound to the reference photo? I don't know but I want to make my landscapes, in this case snow landscapes, better. What could I have done differently to improve this painting?

I welcome all suggestions. Thank you in advance for taking the time.

01-14-2008, 02:08 PM
I haven't study much snow so I am not qualified in that area. Looking at these trees I would say they are done to heavy (uniform) through out. Next time you might try to turn your paper upside down and starting a heavier brush pull down lighter, vary the size and shapes, and lighten the pigment and color and size as they recede into the distance.

01-14-2008, 02:25 PM
This is a lovely painting! It looks like you used salt in your sky! Nice.
I am a newbie as well, however...what my teacher has told me is to change the value and contrast with distance. The farther away,the lighter the tree and the closer the darker. Also with in a cluster of trees, changing the size,value and contrast. We use a loose goose which works really well making different size,shapes of trees. The colors are beautiful! You have a really nice painting!

Brian Barnes
01-14-2008, 04:42 PM
Great advice so far ..... and let me add that I think your technique has brought about a gorgeous result. If this were in my collection I wouldn't be framing it because of the composition .... but I'd be studying it often and thinking Wow! How did I get that lovely effect?:)

If your purpose was to practice technique you were very successful IMO. :thumbsup: I also think you are at the stage though where you should carefully plan the composition and then count on turning out a winner.;)

When looking at your ref photo, there are a few things you should ask yourself......

What attracted me to this scene?
What should I emphasize?
What should I add or leave out?
Are there any areas in my composition that have no purpose other than just being there?
What is the centre of interest?
Where should the COI be placed?
What will hold the viewer's eyes in my painting?
Is there any reason for the viewer to come back later for another look?

Here's a PhotoShop manip. to show what I'd do to improve this particular painting ........

IMO the bright sunny spot should be the COI.
I've cropped a bit off the bottom, added more branches up top to frame the COI, and deepened the bottom shadow to emphasize the sunshine.


This I'd frame. ;)

Hope this helps.


01-14-2008, 05:26 PM
Thank you so much to all who have answered my call for help! I truly appreciate your taking the time.

Ral - What a great idea to turn the paper upside down to do the trees! I'm gonna try that the next time. Thank you!

Freespirit42 - Thank you for your suggestions on changing the value and contrast with distance. That was what I was aiming for but didn't quite achieve. By the way, what is a loose goose?

Brian - Thank you so much for your evaluation and suggestions. I've printed them out so I can post them near my painting table to remind myself! :) Your photo manip. made the painting so much better! What a difference! This is a big help! Thank you!

01-14-2008, 05:27 PM
Nice handling of the colors in the sky and snow! I think the green in the trees is too uniform, though. If you try dropping in some other colors in the green while it is still wet it can add life to the green. Try dropping in some of the pink from the sky or the blue from the mountains. Another option is to mix the green right on your paper instead of using tube green. Start with a yellow wash and add blue while the paint is still wet. Try adding some red to make the green more muted in some places. Have fun!

rue d'oak
01-14-2008, 06:35 PM
I think it is terrific that you brought the painting "back over here" to the Studio to rethink it! And as a result it sure looks like you have gotten some good feedback. The undulating hills are a real plus in this, as well as the overall quality of the light. I like how you handled your foreground tree. The shadow Brian added sure gives drama and reinforces the depth, as well as has a unifying quality.


01-15-2008, 07:30 AM
Hi Judyth,

Great idea to bring this back to the Studio and talk about it here. I think your assessment of its merits is good also and you are so right about each of them.

I think, as has been pointed out ^^^, that the trees in the distance are too uniformly green and too thickly clustered. Perhaps you could go over them with clear water, let it sit for a few seconds, then lightly blot with tissue. This might lift some of the color irregularly to give variation. You could also drop some of the color from the sky in to mingle with the green to give a different tone here and there. I like Brian's suggestion of adding more branches on the tree in the foreground to lead our eye into the painting as well.


01-15-2008, 01:27 PM
Thank you gibbs, Jen and Sylvia for your suggestions. I have received such wonderful suggestions in this thread, great ideas for improvement. I'm printing off a copy of the entire thread so I can have it as a reference. Thanks so much all of you!!!!! :heart: The member support is one of the great strengths about Wet Canvas!

01-15-2008, 01:37 PM
Did you go to the top of the page where it says Thread Tools? The first tool is to Show a Printable Version. It makes it much easier to get a nice clean copy to keep for reference—and the pictures are included as well. :D


01-15-2008, 01:54 PM
:thumbsup: Good advice all around for you, Judy. I like Brian's photo manipulation. His foreground shadows are wonderful. The other suggestions for variation of color, size, and shape are also notable. Good luck with it. You did a nice work and most importantly, you saved the whites! :wink2:

01-20-2008, 12:08 PM
Judy I always like following your work, seeing this and Brian's photo-manip was very educational.

Brian, I gave you a mentor point for that manip.

01-20-2008, 01:58 PM
HI! Judy! :clap: :clap: Always good advise here.:) Regards, Marianne

01-20-2008, 05:04 PM
Thanks Maryann and Marianne for stopping by! I follow your work too (both of you).

Brian - I also gave you a mentor point!

01-22-2008, 03:08 PM
:wave: Hi! Judy, It was interesting to see the work up for refining the shadows, nice to know you were pretty on with your interpretation of the painting and good effects. Regards, Marianne

01-22-2008, 04:16 PM
Judy, I saw this in the gallery and I liked this winter scene. Great suggestion that the trees farthese away should be fainter in color than the foreground ones. I REALLY like Brian's suggestion of strong shadows....that lets you really know where the sun is and lets the center be your center of interest. GREAT ideas in this thread. Good luck whatever you do Judy!

01-23-2008, 12:02 AM
I have absolutely no advice to offer, Judyth... I struggle with landscapes, so all the information that's been shared here has been an excellent read! Thank you for coming back to the Studio for another look at your painting!