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Pippa
01-14-2009, 10:20 AM
I'm doing a landscape commission for a rock climbing friend of his favorite climbing area. The view is of a cliff that faces west, so the setting sun illuminates the cliffs beautifully, and casts them with a lovely pink/orange glow. My question is this: What colour is the sky over the cliffs when the sun is setting? The season is early summer, and the sun is still completely visible on the horizon, with the bottom of the sun just touching the horizon line.

Here's a picture that sort of shows the rock colours:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Jan-2009/88887-DSC03618.JPG
This view is looking north from the cliff I am trying to paint. I am going for more of a colourist approach on this one - so I'm trying to play up the warms in the rock and the trees. Current colour scheme is warm flesh tones and pinks/oranges in the rocks, and warm purples and browns in the trees. Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks! :)

Deborah Secor
01-14-2009, 12:29 PM
Pippa, I think you could use any of a number of colors and have the sky look authentic to the time of day and place. I'd keep it fairly light, though, because at sunset near the horizon the sky isn't dark yet. You can see in the photo that there's a gradation of value from light to a bit darker because of the angle of the camera upwards, most likely, so why not use that gradation, too?

I think turquoises would be good in contrast to the warms. It's not a cold color like cobalts can be... Just be sure to add a bit of the color of the sky, whatever you decide, into the shadows cast on the rocks, too, to tie it together.

That's not much of an answer, is it? Best I can do!

Deborah

Pippa
01-14-2009, 01:40 PM
Thanks Deborah! I hoped you would chime in! :)

It is very helpful - the turquoise is a good idea. That's what I was leaning towards as well. Thanks for the input!

Deborah Secor
01-14-2009, 02:15 PM
You're welcome. Now be sure to show us the painting at some point, okay? :D

Deborah

Pippa
01-14-2009, 03:16 PM
I'll try to remember.... ;)

Sonni
01-14-2009, 03:18 PM
The photo has some really nice lines and shapes in the rocks. It reminds me of something Richard McKinley did. What I see is a lavendar and blue green hues in the shadows that work their way to the edge of the sky on the left. If it were me, I'd be tempted to use a slightly grayed and lightened version of those colors in the sky area.

Colorix
01-14-2009, 03:50 PM
As there are purples, greens, and deep indigos in the shadows, you could go with almost any sky-colour. I'd actually use three colours, minimum: a warm turquoise, a mid neutral temperature blue, and a coolish blue or blue violet, and then interweave them, going lighter and duller in the direction of the gradation of the photo (lightly mixing in some light peaches and pinks). With three different temperatures of blues, you can let one of them dominate the shimmering effect.

The orangey/yellowy/rosy of the cliffs makes purplish blue and greenish blue both very good choices.

Charlie

Pippa
01-14-2009, 03:56 PM
Awesome! Thanks guys! I'm totally stoked to get going! :thumbsup:

DAK723
01-15-2009, 12:15 AM
James Gurney discussed sky blue on his blog recently. This isn't really specific to your question, but I thought it might be of interest to you and others!

http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/04/sky-blue.html

Don

Sonni
01-15-2009, 01:08 AM
James Gurney discussed sky blue on his blog recently. This isn't really specific to your question, but I thought it might be of interest to you and others!

http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/04/sky-blue.html

Don

This is a great blog. Thanks!

Pippa
01-15-2009, 08:18 AM
Yeah, thanks Don! Great read!

Deborah Secor
01-15-2009, 09:11 AM
I did a fun experiment one day. I went into several of those 360 degree photos you find on Google Earth (gigapan photos, I think...) that you can literally fly down into and look around, and up and down. I spent time looking at the color of the sky as I moved in the circle. I did it in several latitudes, presumably at different times of day (though I can't tell you when they were taken.) You can see the direction you're facing, but mostly I just thought about the color of the sky near the sun and opposite it. One of the best ones was on an island way out in the middle of the Pacific, clearly AT sea level. Another at the grand Canyon. It was all quite instructive on a visual level. And fun too!

Deborah

saramathewson
01-15-2009, 01:34 PM
Don,
thanks for mentioning James Gurney's blog. I ued to follow it everyday. I have it bookmarked again so I can look at it more often. I have learned a lot reading his blog!!

Sara

Pippa
01-15-2009, 02:12 PM
well here is the painting as promised. The sky is actually a little more pink IRL. This is a crop as I didn't like the bottom half of the painting. I'm not particularly pleased with the top half either, but I was really struggling.
This is about 8 x 18 inches on canson. The point where the previous cliff photo was taken is off to the right of the view this shows, looking along the face.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Jan-2009/88887-welsford2.JPG
I'm going to do another painting of the cliff as I'm not super happy with this.

terri66
01-15-2009, 07:10 PM
Pippa, as a suggestion, because the person is a climber, I would consider the view from a climber's perspective. The reference photo you included at the beginning of thread with the climbing ropes is rather interesting. I like the warmth of the cliffs and I think you could push it with the shadows. It would be a view us non-climbers would not be familiar with and rather unique. Just a thought.
Terri

Deborah Secor
01-15-2009, 10:01 PM
Pippa, it's a good start, I just think you need to take the rocks further, wich I know will be the interest of a rock climber (since my husband USED TO climb.) I think you could pull off a bit more detail int eh rock faces... Remember that rocks look rocky because of the planes!

BTW, the sky looks good! I can tell there's a hint of peach or pink along the rim, which is working.

Glad you showed us. If/when you work on this one more or do another one, we want to see.... :D

Deborah

Pippa
01-16-2009, 08:54 AM
Thanks for the feedback guys! The painting that I posted shows about 8 climbing walls with a TON of planes and features on each one, so I think I'll need to get out my pastel pencils to get more detail in there! I'll probably do more work on it over the weekend.

I started the other view last night. It's going better because I don't have to imagine the colours! ;) I'll post it when it's more finished. I've also printed off a few of Kim Lordier's and Richard McKinley's rock paintings for guidance. Do you guys think I should include the webbing and climbing anchor in the painting or leave it out?

Yeah I see what you're saying Terri, however the face that I painted is the scene we all see when we begin the hike in to climb, so everyone that climbs around here loves that view. :)

Oh... Since you guys thought that the first photo was neat - here's another climbing one (just for show and tell):
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jan-2009/88887-burley_cheekbone.jpg
This is my boyfriend... this was taken from the face that you can see in my painting in the upper left corner, looking south west.

Donna T
01-16-2009, 09:13 AM
Hi Pippa, I've been following along with all the great sky color advice you've been getting. Since this is a commission would it help to ask your client which view he prefers - the straight on view of the cliff like you painted or more of a close-up like your ref photo? Would it be possible to combine the two, even if you have to use a bit of artistic license? Something like a rock face in the foreground with the wall of cliff receding in the background? What you have so far is nice - I'm just thinking out loud. That last photo ... yikes! People do this for pleasure?!! :eek:

Donna

Pippa
01-16-2009, 10:13 AM
I would ask Donna, but it's a surprise for him from his wife. What I plan on doing is several paintings along these lines, and then offering him the choice. While a good idea, I don't think using artistic license to do that would work, as the finished painting probably wouldn't resemble this area. The fellow this painting is for knows every climb and every face intricately.

Thanks for the idea though! :)

westcoast_Mike
01-16-2009, 11:49 AM
As your boyfriend climbs, you may consider doing a couple of different sketches and bounce them off him as well. I USED TO climb as well and understand about knowing the faces in detail. If you get the major cracks in, and in the correct location, you should be fine on that. Those are a climbers road maps so to speak.

terri66
01-16-2009, 12:19 PM
Pippa, Love the colour of the foliage behind your boyfriend. West Coast Mike suggestion seems doable. I understand the adrenaline rush thing but heights scare me so I ww kayak.(only class 2) I do like the composition of the photo of your boyfriend, it does tie with Donna's suggestion. Sorry I'm rambling, morning coffee hasn't quite kicked in.

Pippa
01-16-2009, 01:37 PM
hehe thanks for the suggestion westcoast Mike... I am a climber too so I understand the features they want to see. ;) And I bounce all my paintings off of my bf! He prefers the close up view I posted originally.

Terri - that photo was taken by another local climber, and is featured in the area's guidebook. Interesting that you ww kayak - that's what my bf did before he took up climbing. Now that looks scary!

Sorry this has gotten so off topic. :P

Sonni
01-16-2009, 06:36 PM
Sometimes the most interesting things come up off topic--sorta like coloring outside the lines.

I think you just need to make a decision on WHAT your focus is going to be: the face of the rocks, the climber, or the scenery beyond the rocks. Some great design dynamics are happening with the fellow hanging off the rock--yeah, you would need the supporting rope to tell the tale, but could downplay the netting. The rock face on the first photo holds a lot of interesting shapes with areas that you could play up, while down playing others to give the viewer a feeling of climbing. Not saying it would be easy to do, but I can see where it could be done. You might look at Albert Handel's rock paintings as well. He says a lot with very little.

Deborah Secor
01-19-2009, 01:20 PM
Pippa, I love noodling around with comps, so take or leave! Just a thought:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2009/23609-idea.jpg

You'd have to make it authentic, of course...

Deborah

PeggyB
01-19-2009, 02:42 PM
This has been interesting to follow. You've gotten a lot of advise from others regarding the color of the sky. If you aren't interested in being authentic, then make the sky whatever color works for you. However, if you are interested in being authentic, one thing to remember is the sky color is based upon the area in which you are seeing it. The skies of the southwest are generally more turquoise, skies in western Montana more cobalt blue, skies in the Northwest U.S. more blue green, etc. Cameras and computer monitors lie about color all the time so you need to study the sky from life where this is being depicted if you want authenticity. Now I've added my 2 cents worth of advise to the mix.... LOL

Peggy

Sonni
01-19-2009, 03:07 PM
Yeah, and the sky in the High Sierra is Kodachrome Blue....:p

PeggyB
01-19-2009, 09:27 PM
Yeah, and the sky in the High Sierra is Kodachrome Blue....:p

Lucky you! Your camera doesn't lie so long as you use Kodak paper & inks for printing ... :lol:
Peggy

Pippa
01-20-2009, 09:47 AM
Deborah - I like that composition, but it doesn't look like 'our' climbing area anymore! :p That's the price you pay with commissions I guess - you can't take too many liberties.

Ok I painted the original picture. This is about 11 x 17 inches on canson. I like this better than the first painting I posted on this thread. IRL you can't see any white paper spots. I didn't really pick a focus for this - more just painted the picture. Thoughts?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Jan-2009/88887-Lshape.JPG

Deborah Secor
01-20-2009, 11:58 AM
I understand totally, Pippa. This one is much more visually interesting but I think it would help to enhance the focal area somewhat more. Love the colors in your rocks and the shadows are well done. The tree is interesting and my eye is drawn there because of the light and its shadow...maybe let the shadows on the distant rock rise higher, so that the plane of rock just behind the tree is somewhat more purply-pink. That might let the eye flow all the way up to the tree. The strong foreground shadows are looking good--a touch more dark might help, since nearby things have more contrast, especially near the base of the tree. I think this one is the winner... :thumbsup:

Deborah

Donna T
01-20-2009, 12:41 PM
I like this version a lot, Pippa, and agree that the tree wants to be the focus. There's a lot to be said for anything that insists on growing out the side of a rock like that! I can see the connection between a rock climber and the tree ... a study in determination.

Donna

Sonni
01-20-2009, 11:48 PM
Yes, indeedy! The strong diagonal cliff to the tree says Look at Me. Some good spacial relationships are happening in the lower half, and I think you could accomplish something similar on the top half by working up the tree. The soft colors of the back hill are really nice.

Pippa
01-21-2009, 07:14 AM
Thanks for weighing in guys! I've done a little more work on the tree - I gave it some more darks. Deborah - do you mean extend the shadowed rock up to the tree? Like this? ('scuse the crude paint job)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Jan-2009/88887-Lshape2.JPG

Thanks Donna and Sonni!

Deborah Secor
01-21-2009, 10:29 AM
Yes. I'm not sure it needs to go all the way behind the tree, just softly leading up to it... I'd let the softer top line of the shadow creep into and around the rock faces, adding heightened graphic qualities to the whole face, especially as the eye draws nearer to the tree. You can manipulate distance with the increasing use of yellows (so that your sunset flavored rocks go from pinkish to yellowish rocks as they draw nearer--it can be very subtle. I know you've seen it already!) Keep the darkest cracks in the front rock, of course. And don't lose that spot of light and drama on the green foliage at the base of the trunk, or the trunk itself!

I can tell you love the place and the sport, so don't forget to have fun painting this... :thumbsup:

Deborah

Pippa
01-21-2009, 11:12 AM
Thanks Deborah! That helps a lot! I'll repost the painting when I've done more work on it.

terri66
01-22-2009, 01:18 AM
Hi Pippa, for my 2 cents, I like the direction your second painting is going and I like your composition.

Pippa
01-22-2009, 07:12 AM
Thanks Terri! :)