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View Full Version : Against the Wind - en plein air


dvantuyl
07-02-2009, 02:33 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jul-2009/120719-against_the_wind.jpg

I met one of my painting friends here in the afternoon on a day that it was not suppose to be windy. The weather people were a little off and it was windy. At the very end, my painting flew off the easel and on my shirt, luckily, as the alternative was to find it a couple miles up the river. I fixed the smears and so here is the finished product of the day. CC's always welcomed.

Susan Jenkins
07-02-2009, 02:41 PM
I'd say you fixed those smears very nicely! When I look at this I just want to say, "Ahhhhh....."

Those foreground grasses are so soft and perfectly rendered!!
Love it!
susan

Donna T
07-02-2009, 02:59 PM
This looks so finished and refined for a plein air, Donna. Just beautiful! I love the grasses and your pines are always exceptional. Wind is hard to deal with!

Donna

cornwall
07-02-2009, 03:42 PM
This is excellent,superb foreground.

Colorix
07-02-2009, 05:03 PM
Donna, it is beautiful! Were the trees so obliging, or did you move them on paper? Those cools in the bg really set off the warm fg.

A little grass-tutorial for us grass-challenged? Your grasses are divine!

Charlie

dvantuyl
07-02-2009, 05:14 PM
Thank you Susan and Mark

This looks so finished and refined for a plein air, Donna. Just beautiful! I love the grasses and your pines are always exceptional. Wind is hard to deal with!

Donna

Donna, it is beautiful! Were the trees so obliging, or did you move them on paper? Those cools in the bg really set off the warm fg.

A little grass-tutorial for us grass-challenged? Your grasses are divine!

Charlie

Thank you Donna T and Charlie. I cheated on this painting and you should know that I have painted at this exact spot at least four times. So I can quickley get the trees moved where I want ,the mountains and river finished and get to the grass where I spend the majority of my time. Grass has always been very difficult for me, so I put my effort on the hard part and sometimes it pays off. On other paintings it looks contrived and stiff. My "trick" is to make the grass float rather than think of the many stems. I learned this from Richard McKinley who is the Master of grass. I will try doing a WIP soon.

annette71
07-02-2009, 05:26 PM
Lovely painting...very relaxing. I like the colors in the foreground very much.

Annette

bchlvr
07-02-2009, 07:14 PM
Beautiful!

Mary Brigid
07-02-2009, 07:20 PM
This is beautiful Donna. I love how the distance is cool and the foreground is so warm. The contrast works really well. How long did this take you Donna and what type of paper did you use?
Mary Brigid

Kathryn Wilson
07-02-2009, 07:23 PM
Floating grass ... now that's something I need to see and learn.

I've had a few accidents with pastels falling flat on their faces, but we can still come back from them!

dvantuyl
07-02-2009, 07:52 PM
Thank you Annette and Linn.

Hi Mary, thank you. I only have a guess as to how long we painted. We started about 2:30 and ended about 3:30 or 4:00ish. I never wear a watch so just guessing. I used Wallis Belgian Mist.

Hi Kathryn. It really only smudged the right side and that one pine tree pretty badly. My shirt looked bad though and I had to go straight home rather than run errands. It looked like I had been in some kind of pastel fight..

Floating grass is a term that Richard uses to describe what the grasses and flowers look like. I always liked the descriptive words, and every since hearing him say this, it is what I see and feel. Stuff floats in the air and does not look like it is stuck in the ground. Painting the feel and sense of air.

IMaybe
07-02-2009, 08:15 PM
Just Beautiful. the foreground and the grasses are so well done and not nit-picky, but look very life like. Sure wish I could learn this!!

Paula Ford
07-02-2009, 08:37 PM
:music: Against the Wind :music:
:music: We were runnin' against the wind :music:
:music: We were young and strong, we were runnin':music:
:music: Against the wind :music:
(Bob Seger)

Now that song is running through my head! :lol:

It's a beautiful painting Donna! So glad it didn't go down the river and it didn't get ruined.

Dougwas
07-02-2009, 08:38 PM
I am glad you saved the painting, Donna. It is beautiful. I love that warm blue on the nearest mountain.

Doug

dvantuyl
07-02-2009, 08:58 PM
Thank you Imaybe and Doug.

:music: Against the Wind :music:
:music: We were runnin' against the wind :music:
:music: We were young and strong, we were runnin':music:
:music: Against the wind :music:
(Bob Seger)

Now that song is running through my head! :lol:

It's a beautiful painting Donna! So glad it didn't go down the river and it didn't get ruined.

Paula, perfect. I used to love that song and when I was thinking of a name for the painting this is exactly what came to mind. I used to ride long distances on my bicycle and would listen to this song. We have wind around here. Thank you Paula!

DAK723
07-02-2009, 09:04 PM
Beautiful as always!

Don

fiannah
07-02-2009, 09:58 PM
Its lovely! I feel the wind in my hair looking at that painting.. oh, thats the fan :)

kennychaffin
07-03-2009, 07:47 AM
Excellent work -- glad the disaster was diverted and I love that title and the song - one of my all-time favorites!

kentiessen
07-03-2009, 11:25 AM
Excellent, Donna! I like the shift from warms in foreground to cool distance and the strong composition. Your study and work on grass is showing- it is very good! I love the variety and indications there. The tree shapes and color are really good, too!

A few very small ideas- the left (last full) tree edges might be a touch softer than your main tree- this might be also be done by bringing the main tree up a step on edges, contrast, or trunk. It might also need more top/tip.

Break the mid-band of lighter oranges slightly in the center to provide a flow into the middle ground along the river.

The river row trees dark- a touch softer/lighter in their darks.

The 2 far mountains are too similar in size- trim the far one down with sky?

All of these are small touches I think will strengthen it more- please consider with my best regards.

dvantuyl
07-03-2009, 12:56 PM
Thank you Don, Joni, and Kenny.

Thank you Ken. These are excellent improvements that you have pointed out. My intent will be to take this information and work on a larger painting either again plein air at the same location and make these improvements, or if I cannot get back to this spot, I will work in the studio. My idea is to work on a theme and gradually bring the painting or build the idea into the finale.

I particularly like your idea of breaking the mid-bank lighter oranges slightly in the center to provide flow. That is a subtle method creating a way into the painting, I like that very much. In one of my books, either Edgar Payne's or John Carlson, he talks about making composition so subtle that the viewer unknowingly goes where the artists intends without making a very obvious path. I attempted this with the flower heads, by making them lead you back through the grass, but now I can see that very obvious line that one cannot get thought. Great Critique!

bnoonan
07-03-2009, 01:54 PM
HI Donna,

I know what it's like working in heat and wind and more wind.... you have good stamina and it shows.

I love this and also would like to hear about the floating grass since I've done two workshops with Richard and that's one I never heard.

Oh and as for Ken's ideas... I have to agree - the similarity in the mountains in the distance is all I saw.

You are truly gifted and I enjoy opening your threads every time. This is no exception.

Barb :)

kentiessen
07-03-2009, 03:22 PM
Donna- Very glad to help! I'm glad that you're making such great progress- the delicate foreground is terrific, as are many things in this work.

Your direction to focus and take it as far as possible is excellent- all carries over to the next, as you know.

It's as if the viewer could find a 'way' through it all, even subtly. To that end, you might also put a break in the river trees and a slight pattern in the water.

One final word (because you still like me) is the left formation with 2 layers. In architecture, divisions decreasing as they rise give a sense of loft: try reversing the formation with larger section on the bottom.

Colorix
07-03-2009, 04:24 PM
Floating grass is a term that Richard uses to describe what the grasses and flowers look like. I always liked the descriptive words, and every since hearing him say this, it is what I see and feel. Stuff floats in the air and does not look like it is stuck in the ground. Painting the feel and sense of air.

That is the sense I got from your grasses. Like we're seeing the seed "thingys" at their ends 'hovering' above the meadow, and flowing almost like foam on water with the wind.

Yes please! A tutorial... just a wee one, won't take you any time to prepare... :wink2:

DAK723
07-03-2009, 04:59 PM
The 2 far mountains are too similar in size- trim the far one down with sky?


Oh and as for Ken's ideas... I have to agree - the similarity in the mountains in the distance is all I saw.
My comment is not to disagree with or try to negate the above comments - both Ken and Barb are far finer artists than I - but just because this is a good example of how differently people see things. For our newer members, who might be confronting critiques for the first time, I think it is always important to point out that - even among artists - we all see things differently. Not only did the distant mountains not bother me at first viewing. they don't bother me in the least now, after specifically viewing them as related to the above comments. I don't see two similar mountains at all - though it is clearly two mountains, it reads as one basic shape to me. the "peaks" are not similar enough to even draw my eye there! Just thought I would mention it!

Don

kennychaffin
07-03-2009, 05:24 PM
My comment is not to disagree with or try to negate the above comments - both Ken and Barb are far finer artists than I - but just because this is a good example of how differently people see things. For our newer members, who might be confronting critiques for the first time, I think it is always important to point out that - even among artists - we all see things differently. Not only did the distant mountains not bother me at first viewing. they don't bother me in the least now, after specifically viewing them as related to the above comments. I don't see two similar mountains at all - though it is clearly two mountains, it reads as one basic shape to me. the "peaks" are not similar enough to even draw my eye there! Just thought I would mention it!

Don

I have to agree with Don on this. I thought the same when I read those comments. Simply different strokes for different folks neither the mountains or the plateau "levels" appeared wrong or inconsistent to me.

I presume this was painted from life and reflects what was seen. :)

bnoonan
07-03-2009, 06:55 PM
Excellent point Don and Kenny! I have noticed that I see something totally different every time I view a piece of art. I've stared at subjects in my own painting and not even recognized something that is obvious to others.

Never - ever let it be said that anyone has the final word except the person holding the pastel! You are the queen Donna!!!

Happy holiday!

Barb

dvantuyl
07-03-2009, 07:02 PM
Thank you Barb and Charlie and Kenny. Yes Charlie there are seed thngy's, I only lament when someone decides to mow down these wonderful grasses, some folks call them weeds.

Don and Ken. I agree with both of you. I think that some changes in size would be nice in a larger painting where the mountains show up more. Here I have pretty much made them as they are (not always the thing to do). In one of my books they talk about changing the size of things to make the viewer more comfortable with what they are seeing and the example was about two trees and the shorter tree is in the foreground and the taller tree is more distant. In this book it was suggested that one reverse the trees so the viewer is not confused and could easily figure out the distant thing. The book said this much better. So in reality the mountains get higher and higher as you head west until you come to the Pacific Crest trail and then they start getting smaller. The far hill is higher than the near hill, but in a painting that would confuse my poor viewer. So when I paint larger I will make that adjustment in a subtle manner. I would also make the nearer hill a bit darker in value just to give the viewer the idea of layers going back. And to add to what Don is saying, the critiques for me do not suggest something really wrong that needs to be fix, but something for me to do better and adjust for the bigger painting which I intent to paint. So critique is a way of growth in intellect and knowledge.

One final word (because you still like me) is the left formation with 2 layers. In architecture, divisions decreasing as they rise give a sense of loft: try reversing the formation with larger section on the bottom.

Yes Ken, everything you say is great with me, and I think the above sounds really important, but I cannot figure out what you mean, but that could be me as I just got home and it is 101+ today so maybe I am just suffering from the heat. It's hot! I did get to see an exhibit called the "Hudson River School Sojourn", and those guys knew about composition!

Thanks again Barb, you make me blush :o and happy Holidays to you. Whatever you do don't drive East today.

kentiessen
07-03-2009, 07:29 PM
It all really up to you, Donna, as it is your work. I know you understand that.

It's also sometimes about science/logic (as with atmospheric perspective), and sometimes it's just another's person/artist's opinion about what they might do (and we know about opinions!). I would truly rather be open to all opinions than to miss any opportunity to learn or see something new to be considered.

The mountain comment is based on mostly on variety- the tendency is to make everything more similar than it really is. Good differences are convincing and interesting- same size, same value, same, same.. is much less interesting.

mudfish
07-03-2009, 08:39 PM
I want a demo on floating grass, too. Please???

seosamhin
07-03-2009, 09:07 PM
You would never know that it was ever smeared. I love the foreground grass in particular. A perfect foil for the cool background.
Julia

Colorix
07-04-2009, 06:54 AM
Fascinating discussion. Yes, we do perceive differently. Distant hills are OK with me, they are different enough. I find my eye drawn to the "sandwich" hill/cliff, probably because it has a distinctly different shape. Is Ken saying that the bottom 'slice of bread' could be thicker than the upper slice?

Anyway, fwiw, (this is not critique, it is sharing my reaction) that rock formation in the mid distance is a stopper for me. My eye doesn't follow the water around the bend. Without that very characteristic formation, the fg would be the undisputed star, and the rest would simply recede. What you choose to do with it is an artistic choice. You could also go the way of making that formation the star of the show, with a little bit more contrast there.

Recieving critique: Personally, I really appreciate all critique, and consider it (unless it is a photo-and-screen thing). That is, I consider it looking at the original. Sometimes I deem a critique to be 'off', not 'right', but it is still valuable to me, as I have a conscious decision about whaterver it concerns, so it *has* helped me. And sometimes critiquers point out that glaringly obvious faulty thing I *should* have seen myself but didn't...

Condecending critique is another thing, totally. Raises my hackles, regardless of it is about my work or somebody elses. And the "my way is the only right way" type, too. There are lots of different schools.

And isn't it fun when one sees lots of breakage of rules and plain bad drawing in the works of a revered master? And they got away with it, and their work brings in millions at auktions today. :-D

Do what works, do what is your vision.

Charlie

kennychaffin
07-04-2009, 08:10 AM
That is the sense I got from your grasses. Like we're seeing the seed "thingys" at their ends 'hovering' above the meadow, and flowing almost like foam on water with the wind.

Yes please! A tutorial... just a wee one, won't take you any time to prepare... :wink2:

Yes, a tutorial. For me the beauty and execution of the grasses here is the key! I'd love to be able to do the floating grass thing. :D

dvantuyl
07-04-2009, 10:37 AM
Fascinating discussion. Yes, we do perceive differently. Distant hills are OK with me, they are different enough. I find my eye drawn to the "sandwich" hill/cliff, probably because it has a distinctly different shape. Is Ken saying that the bottom 'slice of bread' could be thicker than the upper slice?

Anyway, fwiw, (this is not critique, it is sharing my reaction) that rock formation in the mid distance is a stopper for me. My eye doesn't follow the water around the bend. Without that very characteristic formation, the fg would be the undisputed star, and the rest would simply recede. What you choose to do with it is an artistic choice. You could also go the way of making that formation the star of the show, with a little bit more contrast there.

Recieving critique: Personally, I really appreciate all critique, and consider it (unless it is a photo-and-screen thing). That is, I consider it looking at the original. Sometimes I deem a critique to be 'off', not 'right', but it is still valuable to me, as I have a conscious decision about whaterver it concerns, so it *has* helped me. And sometimes critiquers point out that glaringly obvious faulty thing I *should* have seen myself but didn't...

Condecending critique is another thing, totally. Raises my hackles, regardless of it is about my work or somebody elses. And the "my way is the only right way" type, too. There are lots of different schools.

And isn't it fun when one sees lots of breakage of rules and plain bad drawing in the works of a revered master? And they got away with it, and their work brings in millions at auktions today. :-D

Do what works, do what is your vision.

Charlie

Hi Charlie. This is a great discussion. Now I think I "got it". That sandwich looking thing out there is a stopper. It is an example of painting something, because its there, but it does not belong. Having said that even though it is there in reality it blends in more than what I have depicted. I think it is one of the last things I did on site and could have simply left it out or easily made it less obvious. Another thing I though about was making it lower on the horizon and again less obvious, but really I don't think it even needs to be there.

Also Charlie what you said about critique is very well said. It is also good to get some discussion like this going and to think about things.

Thank you Julia

Mudfish and Kenny I will attempt a demo, however, it must be said that I have a really hard time stopping to take photo's when I get started on something. I have tried it before and get going and suddenly realize I missed some important photo's. Maybe I can set an alarm or something.

kennychaffin
07-04-2009, 11:13 AM
.....
Mudfish and Kenny I will attempt a demo, however, it must be said that I have a really hard time stopping to take photo's when I get started on something. I have tried it before and get going and suddenly realize I missed some important photo's. Maybe I can set an alarm or something.

:D Yep, I've been know to do that as well with my WIPs. ;)

Donna T
07-04-2009, 11:34 AM
I've been enjoying the discussion that's been going on here with your painting, Donna. I wish we would do this more often - just discuss things for the sake of learning. Charlie's comments about giving and receiving critiques echo my thoughts exactly.

I kind of like the sandwich looking thing and it's interesting that I didn't see any problems with it before but I can see where others perceive it differently. In a way it helps to tell the story; it describes the breath-taking rock formations along the river while pulling our eyes across your beautiful foreground. We know you'll do what is right for your painting, Donna, whether you decide to make any adjustments to that area or not.

Of course I'd love to see any WIP or demo you could share with us if you ever feel like you have the time to do one. Even shots of the beginning, middle and end would let us see how your work progresses.

Donna

C_Line
07-04-2009, 11:52 AM
Just sublime.

Lynne Vokatis
07-04-2009, 01:26 PM
I have to admit.....i need to go back and reread all the discussions.but i really love this. Its just beautifull. i think i did the "ahhhhh"thing too:cat: lynne

dvantuyl
07-04-2009, 02:16 PM
Thank you Lynne and Celeste.

Yes Donna I have enjoyed this very much. Also I enjoyed Charlies comments on critique. The tone and effort put into this discussion has been very uplifting and positive.

First we talked of painting in the wind then on to the most important aspect of painting......composition. For me the great value of you guys is seeing something and pointing it out to me. I painted it and so often fail to see something in my own painting that I would see as obvious in something done by someone else. I did not see that sandwhich thingy and now it really bothers me. It will be fixed. Then once I get started fixing the sandwich thingy, I know that I will move back a do a little something to those far hills. I feel very good about doing these things as now I can see.

The Hudson River School show was very interesting to me. The compositions were all so perfect, almost too perfect sometimes, is that possible? In my mind it is possible as I mention earlier composition should be subtle, I think.

bnoonan
07-05-2009, 01:21 PM
I have an idea.... Maybe I need to drive over the mountains to visit you Donna and report back to the others? LOL

Just remind everyone - you hold the pastel and the artwork - you are always in control.

We all have to admit - you have a great eye and lovely work. Barb

dvantuyl
07-05-2009, 02:07 PM
Hi Barb, yes come on over. The Gorge has its moments if you like wind, more wind, and when it is not windy, it is Hot. The artist must be as rugged and tenacious as the land, and as you know the wind can cause mental disturbances, as reported a few years back, so come at your own risk. LOL

Along the lines of this thread and all the wonderful critiques, it is for me a privilege and an honor to be able to share my efforts with the artists here on WC. Thank you everyone for being here and helping me to see things I am unable or unwilling to face. This is good and I hope other artists get something from the discussion.

And by the way, I did try a little demo yesterday. I am attempting to make a video of painting grasses. In the middle of everything my little doggy took off after another little dog. I was wearing the camera on my head and in the video I take off in the middle to chase the dog. I will try again......

kennychaffin
07-05-2009, 02:40 PM
Oh that's funny about the dog, reminds me of the time I was photographing a coyote and my dog got loose and took off after him, then it was all three of us bashing through the woods, cameras flailing, me yelling, etc. etc....