View Full Version : Notan to Nocturne wip

08-14-2008, 03:44 PM
The photo and notan were posted on "A good dose of..." from motivation from Kim :angel: . It seemed to be a good idea to follow through. Everything you see below, I learned at Kim's workshop (most everything, anyway), so if I truly screw up, I'll blame her, sign someone else's name, and leave the finished product by the side of the road. :evil:

reference photo (though I will use the real thing this evening as the scene is viewed from my deck)


Notan in 4 values of pastels (including white)

Sketch from notan in dark blue Sennelier (couldn't find my favorite Nu-pastel color) on 9x12 Wallis (white) paper took about 5 min.

Hitting the sketch with turpenoid and an old bristle brush to create values using ONLY the notan as reference

Applying some color in hopefully correct values using mostly Pan Pastels for the sky area, and bringing in more darks (Pans didn't seem to go dark enough), so I don't lose them. Again, using only the notan for reference and MEMORY of the scene (thank you, Marc Hanson). At this point I have a horrible urge to spray with workable fixitif (thank you, Kim), and I want to work on it in plein air looking at the scene at dusk. So no more until then. Any helpful comments or direction--now is the time to jump in :thumbsup: :D .

Donna T
08-14-2008, 03:58 PM
No direction from me, Sonni. I just watch and learn. Looks good so far!


08-14-2008, 04:17 PM
Ooooh.. Thanks SO much for this demo.. perfect timing:)

It looks great already to these eyes! & lucky you having such a beautiful view!

08-14-2008, 04:21 PM
i love your expressive strokes and lovely colors! Looks like you are taking in good lessons and applying them.

08-14-2008, 04:26 PM
Maw...I'm very lucky living where I do, on a hill in a cabin on about an acre, with 10 miles visibility as the crow flies of USFS land to the south. It's in a transition zone in the Sierra Nevada so I have all kinds of trees to study. Why I can't paint them better, is still a mystery. Oh...and I do have electricity, hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, a good kitchen, a full bar, and 3 cats. What more could I want :D :D

08-14-2008, 04:29 PM
i love your expressive strokes and lovely colors! Looks like you are taking in good lessons and applying them.

Thanks! Kim said the same thing about my "strokes" so I'm trying to follow the initial ones with this painting.

WC Lee
08-14-2008, 04:30 PM
don't mind me .. just watching with enthusiasm ....

08-14-2008, 05:00 PM
Thank you Sonni for this demo!

Could you put the concept of 'hooking up' into words too?

08-14-2008, 11:55 PM
Hooking up in the notan...link the dark shapes to create a pattern that moves the eye through the painting. Support this link with mid and light values. I think I got it right. Of course you are doing this simultaneously while deciding the design structure and the values of that structure with color whirling around in the back of your mind. :rolleyes:

A pretty good sunset occurred tonight and I tried to capture it without loosing the structure of the notan (about 40 min before and during). I swept the color right through the trees, and I think the trees have lost their bulk. Not a good thing. Forget about following the strokes I made earlier on. Too much I don't like--I'll have to decide how to deal with it in the morning--or later tonight if I can't stand it. I don't understand why this isn't easier... :eek:


desaturated to see if I paid attention to the notan.


Donna T
08-15-2008, 08:27 AM
Nice sunset colors, Sonni. I can see where it would be hard to fit the sunset colors in and around the negative spaces of the trees. Once you get all the layers in the sky it seems to be impossible to recreate the same look in those little spaces, and I can never remember "did I do the peach first and then the pink or was it the other way around?" You're right, it should be easier.


08-15-2008, 08:57 AM
I really like these....I need to study up on them.
Thank you!

08-15-2008, 09:34 PM
Great job, Sonni!! Don't get down on your self. Work with the process a little bit more, and you will eventually develope your own way to lay down you marks, and follow your strokes. The color is working real well.

08-15-2008, 10:47 PM
Thanks Donna!
Thanks Mike. Study hard :D

I'll keep working, Kim, just can't seem to make the pastels do the same thing as the brush--yet. Maybe if I put them on a stick?:rolleyes:

Anyway, here's the result. All opinions welcome. It's not precious, so I can change it--or at least try. There ARE colors in the dark front--all similar values. They don't show up on my screen--dark greens, violets and reds. And it seems to follow the notan--mostly.

nana b
08-15-2008, 11:01 PM
I like it Sonni and I appreciate the lessons! Please keep showing us your notans and paintings so we can "get It" too.
It takes a lot of time, too much time, to go around all the tree shapes. I would say that's one of the big challenges for me when doing landscapes in pastels. I always get frustrated!


WC Lee
08-16-2008, 12:35 AM
looks good to me :) I like this process but winging it as I go is more my style :D

08-16-2008, 02:18 AM
Bravo, Sonni!

08-16-2008, 03:51 AM
Sonnie, it is beautiful! Thank you for the demo.

Hm, preference and discussion-wise: Sonnie's (and Kim's and other's) painting looks very loose and free, inspired, 'strictionless'. Seems to me that a few minutes of careful planning *before* starting the painting can save a lots of grief. As this method is somewat similar to the one I've used, I think I dare the guess that a bit of planning allows for great freedom when executing the painting. You can "go wild" within the values. Or?

To me, the result is fantastic!


Donna T
08-16-2008, 09:11 AM
This turned out really well, Sonni! The notan helped but the artist really make this one a beauty.


08-16-2008, 11:37 AM
Oh I'm learning so much as you work on this piece.... Thanks Sonni. It's a gift to the rest of us to watch your progression.


Deborah Secor
08-16-2008, 12:06 PM
YUM! Nice lush colors and strokes...very expressive.

Charlie, I agree wholeheartedly. Planning and discipline in the early stages allows great expressive freedom with color and strokes, just as Sonni is doing here. :thumbsup:


08-16-2008, 02:06 PM
Thanks folks, it ain't exactly been easy, but with practice....:rolleyes:

Charlie, yes. It's in the organization, something I am terrible at because I'm lazy and just want to jump in and get to the end result. I always think (that's the operative word) the concept and design in my head is clear. No so. I can be led astray by color in a flash. It also means analyzing what you are doing, especially in the early stages. When I was working as a writer and editor (one of many hats), I understood beginning, middle, and end, the path of the article, and the connectors. Why it isn't easy for me to do the same thing in composition and design is a mystery. Maybe it's oldtimers--I forget where I've been and where I'm going. So, doing notans seems to be what the doctor ordered. I don't think the painting is "loose" BTW. By my standards, it is tight, and I want to get away from that.

I'm glad the process has been informative to some of you. I almost didn't post the finished painting, because I felt it was too flat (need to learn more about "nocturnes" as well), but figured in for a pound, in for a penny. Just do it.

Now...who's gonna do the next one???:angel:

Adriana Meiss
08-16-2008, 08:46 PM
I'm glad you posted it. I find it very beautiful. Thank you for showing us the whole process. I'm beginning to see the importance of notans, or at least a quick sketch for PA work.

08-17-2008, 02:11 AM
This turned out really well, sonni.. I like it alot..I agree with you, though.. I would like it even better, if looser.. more like the third pic.. not as much detailed trunks showing..... Just my thoughts... LOVE the sky, bg mountains& dark f/g foilage at bottom.. Hope you keep doing these & sharing!!

08-17-2008, 03:44 PM
Thanks Adrianna and Maw T. Maybe I'll try the next one with my left hand. That ought to cut down on details.

08-18-2008, 08:07 PM
The finished work is just like a sunset in the pinetrees. Very nice! It is hard to make oneself do the notans, and stick to them. Color is very difficult to learn also, and use it correctly. So much to learn! but nothing better to do. Love your posts, they are informative. Thanks, Sonni.