View Full Version : A Little Help Please

01-29-2008, 09:24 PM
The last time I posted in the Studio I received such wonderful help, I've decided to do it again. I just completed this painting for the January Invitation to Paint Snow and since I find foliage challenging to say the least, I'd like feedback on where I've been successful and what I might have done differently to produce a more successful result. I'd appreciate any pointers you can give me! I want to get better at landscapes!

This is based on a photo by Miko from the RIL and is done on 1/4 sheet #140CP Fabriano Artistico (my first use of this paper) with DS paints.

The painting doesn't seem to have enough punch. What could improve it? Thank you!!!

01-30-2008, 06:44 AM

Your foliage is much improved in this painting from the other one you showed us. :thumbsup: I especially like the little fir tree on the right side.

The gray shadow in the foreground seems a little dark for a snow scene. Perhaps a blue shadow might have been softer and colder looking.

The house off in the distance which could have been a focal point seems lost. Maybe add a little more darks along its edges????? Can't tell without seeing the reference photo if it was that hard to see.

I like your distant mountains and the sky. Did you enjoy using the Fabriano Artistico? I like it and use it along with my Arches.


01-30-2008, 07:42 AM
Hi, Judy!
I have painted the same motive. For me it was a big help to look at
www.susieshort.com (http://www.susieshort.com) There I found a way how to paint nice winter-trees.
Susie shorts painting tips are really great! I found that link somewhere in the forum - I think it was under Yorky's or Laudesan's signature - But with google you will find that easyly.
Greetings from Austria!

01-30-2008, 08:30 AM
Hi Judy, What a nice painting. If anything bothers me, it is that there is no focal point of interest. I think because the house is dead center, it should be left as is. (rule of thirds and all that) The two end trees, which have the whitest snow, lead the viewer to them and out of the picture. They should be toned down.

That leaves the other tree on the left had side - the one closest to the center. I don't know how easy your green lifts -usually greens stain - so I would not try lifting the green on the right hand side of the tree to show more snow. But you can darken the background trees around that evergreen to make the snow appear whiter and green lighter in that tree. It will stand out and become prominent.

A teacher once told me to look for areas that have UNDUE importance and tone them down. I hope this helps.

01-30-2008, 10:07 AM
Hi Judyth! Your painting has a LOT of really good elements... your foreground trees are nicely shaped and the snow laden branches look good...

I feel that you need some red in here... a little red mixed into your greens will create deep rich browns that will warm up your trees...

Your shadows are almost grey! I don't think you can change this now, but purple and blue shadows would have livened up your snow...

I'm not convinced that every painting NEEDS a focal point... sometimes a nice scene is just that... a nice scene... but when that happens, you do need to focus on something IN the nice scene for greater impact... :) I suppose that becomes the COI... :lol:

01-30-2008, 10:31 AM
:wave: HI! Judyth, All good suggestions, I agree with Char on the snow and the only other thing that distracts me is the more solid ridge line of the nearer mountain, it kinda keeps the eye from traveling back to the far mountain pehaps soften this? This is an inviting scene.:) Regards, Marianne

01-30-2008, 03:30 PM
Thank you Sylvia, Gerhard, Jan, Char and Marianne for stopping by and for your helpful comments.

Sylvia - Thank you for noticing my improvement in foliage! That is very encouraging! Yes, the house is fairly hidden in the reference photo but I could draw a bit more attention to it with a slightly stronger color. As for the Artistico paper, I'm not sure yet. This was my first time using the 140#. I will keep using it but I think I still prefer Arches. We'll see what I think with more use.

Gerhard - Thank you for your lovely reference photo and for the Susie Short link. She has a lot of helpful advice on her web site.

Jan - Thanks for your suggestions. I will take another look at those trees and see what I think.

Char - Thank you for pointing out what I have done successfully! As I told Sylvia, that is very encouraging. I am going to see what I can do with the shadows, maybe use magic eraser sponge to take off some of the color and drop in some bluish purple, the same mix I used to tone down the tree covered mountain in the background. I think it is the lack of a definite COI that accounts for the lack of punch or drama in the painting so I'm going to take another look to see what I can use--the house maybe?

Marianne - Thanks for your suggestions. I see what you mean about the nearer mountain. I'm going to try and soften it.

01-30-2008, 05:18 PM
You have done some nice work, but the "punch" I think you are looking for might be. . . . COLOR! I learned long ago that snow reflects all sorts of wonderful color. The shadows could use some blues, purples, even rose, in them. A little yellow or yellow-orange would bring in the sunshine that the shadows say you have there. But with that sky, we hardly know where the sunshine and shadows come from, so I would add a peek or two of blue. . . .

I played around and added a few of the ideas to your nice winter scene. . . .
I added a little blue to the sky and to the shadows (along with some violet), added some shadow color to the snow on the tress, and some rust to the foliage(very little and it is hard to see), lightened the hills to give them that "just snowed" frosty look, and to recede them a bit I glazed a little violet on the far slopes (and to repeat the color from the shadows for unity). And then dashes of yellow . . . no, not yellow snow, but for the sunlight it lends to the scene (as you see, very pale, but it changes it!).

Just a peek at what some glazes might do for your painting. You are on your way, and not suffering anything the rest of us don't face when we are painting a new subject! Keep up the good work!

02-21-2008, 11:32 PM
just a thought, but I would have made the mountain more intense, in the background, to attract the eye, to pull the viewer into the painting. it would have contrasted with the snow, and become a sort of focal point. I hope my little contribution in the early hours, helps.

02-22-2008, 02:45 PM
Hi Judyth. I love this snow scene and you have already gotten lots of good advice, but I just want to add another. Maybe if you gave the house in the background a little color, like a brick red, it would draw the eye into your painting. Not the roof, just the little piece showing under the eaves. I agree about taking out the ridgeline of trees. Looking at Artsaveslives workup, it gives more depth. Keep having fun.........Lenore

02-22-2008, 03:10 PM
Judyth: Excellent shapes!! I personally think that the painting is all too much the same - the same color and the same values, so that nothing stands out against the other. The foreground trees and snow embankment is perfectly shaped - the infusion of color as many have stated would enhance it immensely. I read about the house and had to search for it due to the values being so close throughout the painting. I love the changes ArtSavesLives did...it punches out the planes.

Your snow-laden branches are perfecto! I can't paint a tree to save my life!

02-22-2008, 05:26 PM
I haven't checked this thread for quite a while and I'm delighted to receive more wonderful advice!

ArtSavesLives - I realize now that I never thanked you for your wonderful suggestions. Actually I was so anxious to put them into practice that I completely neglected to get back to you. I did add more color to the painting and I am much happier with it. Thanks!

Nick, Lenore and Cheryl - Thank you for your comments as well! A funny thing about this painting. Right after I finished fiddling with it, I tried to do another "evergreen tree" picture and failed, miserably. :( I had hoped to cement what I learned in this picture by immediately putting it into practice but it didn't work out that way. None of my trees came anywhere close to those in this painting so I'm off trees for a while. Maybe when I come back to them, I will have more success.

02-22-2008, 08:40 PM
well, I like it quite a lot.... hmmm...perhaps a crashed skier in the center? I don't know... it looks pretty great to me...

Brian Barnes
02-22-2008, 09:02 PM
I was going to suggest more colour too but you say you've already done that. :)

When I saw that you wanted ideas for more punch, this idea came to mind ......... something I'd like to try sometime too.... ;)


....... more contrast in the FG trees, more colour in the shadows, bring shadows out the bottom, deepest darks at and next to the cabin, and dark streaks adding drama to the sky. :)