View Full Version : Landscape artist needs help with conceptual, please

03-17-2009, 03:38 PM
I want to enter a contest because the message is important to me and my heritage.

This photo is my inspiration; I took it at Yorktown.


My goal is to turn the left side into a Jamestown building, meaning stucco with a few planks going horizontally and diagonally.

The right side with the gable will be a White House portico.

I don't know if the scale of the door of the old house on the left should match the reduced scale of the White House on the right.

The message concerns the first slaves to set foot in America, from whom I descend, and how far the African immigrant blood has come.

Here are some sketches. I don't usually write within paintings, so I feel like I am being very obvious. Because the piece is message-driven, that's okay. I just want to get the flow properly with a balance somehow of landscape and architecture.




It bothers me that the scale of the two sides of the building don't mesh - one door is large, the other minuscule. I really don't know what to do with the background.

Suggestions very much appreciated. I have about three weeks before I have to get this in. I am considering making a surface for doing it - pumice gel on board.


03-17-2009, 03:54 PM
Cool thing! Mysterious!

OK, so what if you use the left side for the White house? That way you can make efficient use of that longer side, and you can let the WH portico stick out just as it does in the real one. Actually, didn't it (WH) use to be shorter way back when? Seem to remember rooms been added on both sides.

And then use the planks and stucko for the shorter right side. I'm not sure how those houses look in the US, but in Europe, the partitions are often rather small, close together.

Just flip the photo if you need the WH to the right. Oh, and calmly make the doors of the WH larger, it is within the portico anyways, so I don't think anybody would react. (But I'm an 'alien', what do I know about noticing?)

Feels like the progression is from shed to cottage to White House. Good that the world does progress in some ways, and all humans get equal opportunities and rights.


03-17-2009, 05:37 PM
I agree with Charlie, that if you mirror the photo, you will have a better angle to depict the White House side and still keep your text with 1619 on the left and 2009 on the right. I personally think that the first version with the text on each side of the walk is the most balanced. If you decide to go smaller with the text, it will still work fine with that composition. Good luck with this! We can't wait to see it finished!


03-17-2009, 10:12 PM
Thank you so much for your input and opinions. I will work up some more sketches.

Elsewhere on WC, someone questioned whether it really had to be just one structure, so I have more thinking to do.

03-18-2009, 09:35 AM
It may also help to check your perspective, this will help in keeping everything in line, and mess the two building together as well. It may not have to be perfect just close.

03-18-2009, 06:20 PM
Look what loft_artist did for me in Photoshop! It represents my thoughts perfectly!


My pastel instructor suggests making blocks for the various number combinations and putting the stockade or wrought iron fencing along the back to indicate more mood changes.

This is an incredible group effort. I hope it makes it in the show.

04-11-2009, 10:31 AM
This is what I was able to do. It is due next week. Although it's not too late for criticism, I'm not sure if I'm up to it. Still need to do taxes! But I had my priorities!

I think the picture represents the painting well, except the all browns have more definition and aren't quite that dark. Also, the columns look straighter; the dark sides show up in person as separate from the background.

My son complains that the White House isn't white, but what does he know?

It's on a 16x20 foamboard. I did the drawing first, sprayed it with Grumbacher's permanent fixative, painted it with purple acrylic, then layered it with Golden's Fine Pumice Gel plus pumice from Dakota. It has a nice ripple to it, not too much. I used an old 1" watercolor brush to spread the pumice mixture.

I am not accustomed to working from this size, for preparing a surface, or pursuing concepts from my head, but I am happy with it and for what it suggests. The piece conveys the concept and feel that I wanted and I appreciate the guidance of the Wetcanvas community so much.


04-11-2009, 11:47 AM
Bonnie, thank you for showing the finished painting! Wow, it is great, telling a story.

Gently educate your son about the phenomenon "optical white". :-D

This'll knock the socks of them!