View Full Version : Blue Ridge Slope - Finished.

Kathryn Wilson
11-28-2009, 09:20 AM
I attempted this painting quite a while ago and never did resolve the color issues to my satisfaction. It was also quite a bit larger than this version. I decided to do a small study to see if I could come up with a solution. 8 3/4 x 11 1/2 (Wallis)

I used acrylic inks for an underpainting on this smaller version which gave me the brilliance that was missing in the larger painting. As I recall, the larger painting was done on the rust colored Colourfix, which may have caused my frustration as the whole painting seemed to be one hue.

I changed the grass color to this green, which changed the whole complexion of the painting from fall time to a spring time look. Still not a resolution, but I feel better about this one.

Please, I'd like opinions on the slope of the painting - does your eye travel down and out of the painting, or up from the corner to the red/pink bushes? If it is a problem, how do I fix this?

This is a work in progress and I have not yet finished with the grasses. I also see that the yellow horizon needs some softening.


I might do a crop - thoughts?


11-28-2009, 10:22 AM
I find this very very attractive, Kathryn!

I did read the text, and I understand your struggles, sometimes things just don't turn out the way we had them in our minds... I haven't seen the larger one,so I really don't know what issues you had there, but this one is lovely!

If you are concerned about the eye traveling down and out from the paper, why don't you put a stopper? Actually it's already there, you just need to increase the size, to cut through the slopes, it's the little tree in the shaddow on the left viewing size, just make it bigger ( say to mid-sky) Try to picture this in your mind first, to see if it brings any resolution ( it's just my idea, might not be the best...)

Kathryn Wilson
11-28-2009, 10:40 AM
Boy, I went back to find a photo of that painting - no wonder I was unhappy with it. Attaching photo I am working from.


Mary Y
11-28-2009, 10:49 AM
Hi Kathryn,
I also think this is lovely. I like the complimentary colours you have used and I don't think your eye travels out of the picture.For what its worth I much prefer the uncropped version.

John B
11-28-2009, 11:28 AM
I too like the uncropped version. I think the colours are stunning and the pink sky add to the warmth of the painting.


Donna T
11-28-2009, 12:21 PM
Two very different paintings, Kat. I don't remember seeing the original version - maybe before my time here. Depending on how close you want to stay to your photo (not very is my guess :) ) I wonder if you could use the direction of the light more to your advantage. It looks like it's coming low and from the left, at least judging by the weed head in the lower left corner. I see some nice long shadows from unseen trees. If you wanted a stopper for the left side could you invent a shadow there? Maybe if you put some of those red weeds in shadow it would reinforce the look of long, low light that mostly hits the top of the hill. This might also put a little more emphasis on the group of trees since they sit up higher. Did you take a photo of your underpainting? I see pink under the sky but am curious if you used other colors for the rest. I really like what you have done so far!

11-28-2009, 12:29 PM
Hi Katherine! The colors are absolutely luscious...

It does travel downhill for me, and the thing that makes it more evident to my eye is the hill on the right side, in the distance. It's not reading distant enough. I think before you do anything try muting and softening the edges there and see what happens. If I cover it up with my hand, I now "linger longer" in the bushes.

11-28-2009, 12:31 PM
Hi Kathryn,

I think that the crop works better. I do find that there is somewhat of a downhill momentum to the uncropped version. I think it is because your focal point bush is on the same side (the left) as is the slope (to the left). Your original compositions has that little tree on the right side of the slope which better balances the comp to me, pulling the eye back up the hill. Perhaps adding an element there in your new painting will help do the same. Just a thought. Balance is very much a personal thing, I have found.

The color and energy of the strokes is very nice!


11-28-2009, 12:32 PM
Kathryn, I think the colors in this newer version are pretty nice. Esp. like the vibrant pink! If you are concerned about the eye traveling down and out from the paper, why don't you put a stopper? Actually it's already there, you just need to increase the size, to cut through the slopes, it's the little tree in the shaddow on the left viewing size, just make it bigger ( say to mid-sky) Try to picture this in your mind first, to see if it brings any resolution ( it's just my idea, might not be the best...)
Messing around with your ref pic, below. (That was fun!!) The rise on the left helps me stay in the frame.




11-28-2009, 12:48 PM
Colors are fabulous. It does run downhill for me, I think because the whole piece seems to be downhill, its missing emphasis on that part on the left that flattens out and runs back.

11-28-2009, 01:14 PM
Kat, you picked a tough photo I have to say. It's just a difficult composition that could have you chasing the frustration. I like the newer of the pieces but still can't figure out what would work with the slope.



Deborah Secor
11-28-2009, 01:21 PM
I hope you don't mind but I noodled around with your pic, too... Here's another possibility for you:


I always like to energize my pics this way to inspire me. It may or may not work the same for you, but it's a thought.

Have fun! I LOVE the start of this one... Go, go, go!


11-28-2009, 01:24 PM
Wow - I think you took a bit too much acid at one time in your life Deborah. LOL

11-28-2009, 01:53 PM
Kathryn, what an interesting dilemma!

The rust-coloured paper never worked for me either.

OK, my take on this: It does slide down the slope, if I may be frank.


Now, in the ref, there were some interesting things:

The area outlined in blue needs to be *way* more distant, as it is now, in your painting, it reinforces the slope.
Saturated pink shows an area with lots of straight horizontal lines, subtle and hidden in the shadows, but they do balance the movement. The odd line in same pink was my trying to trace the lay of the land, it looks like there is a ridge at the back that curves sharply down, and then towards us there is a flat area leading to the fg slope, and there I curved it up to the bush. The green "head of a seal" is that dark green bit, I think it is some growth in front of the large bush, and in the photo it acts as a brake, stopping the flowing down of the bush.

Then in pale pink, you have some "hat-pins" pinning the whole thing down, that is, strong verticals, including the distant tree, which is also an important stopper. Green verticals in the fg indicate that the main movement of the grass is vertical, and only a few strands bow.

I think that if you add some horizontals, and verticals, you'll 'pin it down', and then if the green patch at the foot of the bush doesn't look like lit slope behind, but is a weed in front of the bush, it'll work better.

My eye is drawn to the yellow, straight away. It is the smallest bit of bright colour, and as the red portions are big, this little yellow becomes a magnet. Knock it back with a bit of pink, that might work.

In the old version, you do have more horizontals and verticals, but the colour energy of the new version is much juicier!

Will be very interesting to see where you take this one. All the different suggestions are so cool!


Deborah Secor
11-28-2009, 04:02 PM
Wow - I think you took a bit too much acid at one time in your life Deborah. LOL

Not guilty! I come by this 'au naturel'! :lol:


Kathryn Wilson
11-28-2009, 05:26 PM
Thanks guys! I worked on this some today, but I'd best put some of your suggestions to work before I take a photo.

All of your input reinforces the challenge I have made for myself with this photo - but isn't that what art is about, pushing ourselves into unknown realms of possibilities?

11-29-2009, 05:17 AM
Wow - I think you took a bit too much acid at one time in your life Deborah. LOL

sorry, but that was funny!:lol:

11-29-2009, 10:58 AM
Hi Kathryn, First off I would like to say that I like the first virsion in post #3 with the photo reference, personally I am drawn to it, the colors are more pleasing and the work is looser. Ok that being said, The one you are working on is also really nice, and I am lead down the slope of the hill out the left side of the painting, but I think it is a very easy fix. What I noticed is that almost every thing on the hill leans to the left as well. Even on a slope of a hill trees and grasses grow vertical, I think if you straighten some of that out it will still show a slope but will give the viewer a place to rest and enjoy the scene. it also looks like the area just to the left of the main bush is flatening out, which would also help to keep you from moving down hill, and give the viewer another place to sit and enjoy the view. Just some thoughts

11-29-2009, 12:33 PM
Glad to hear no offense was taken Deborah. Me too.

Kat - sorry to take over your post... Looking forward to seeing what you got going Kat.

And to answer your question YES... it's about making magic out of whatever we have. YOU GO!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: Barb

11-29-2009, 12:35 PM
Forgot to mention that I love what Charlie is suggesting as well. We all have our ways don't we! B

Kathryn Wilson
11-29-2009, 12:41 PM
Okay, I think I've got the slope "unsloped" - I took down the hill on the right, changed direction of the grasses on the bottom right, corrected the land slope to the left of the big bushes.

First the one with the corrections; second one is the cropped version I am going to use.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2009/14941-slope2.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Nov-2009/14941-crop2.jpg

Paula Ford
11-29-2009, 12:43 PM
Oh, I love all the color!

Kathryn Wilson
11-29-2009, 01:37 PM
Thanks Paula - these bushes have been speaking to me for over 3 years. It was about time I answered the call.

Now on to something else!

11-29-2009, 01:38 PM
hello. Fascinating discussion and (for me) a great example of the critique process. Many paintings from many artists. I vote five stars. thx E

Donna T
11-29-2009, 04:18 PM
*sigh* You make it looks so easy to use those colors! This is so beautiful and much more energetic than your first version. I like the changes you made to the background - nothing is sliding anywhere now- and seeing some of the underpainting showing through is a huge plus! I'm glad you listened when these bushes spoke!

11-29-2009, 04:35 PM
Oh those corrections are gorgeous Kathryn and I really like the uncropped version with corrections the best, I guess because I like that little area of light blue-violet on the right of the bushes.

11-29-2009, 04:44 PM
You did an excellent job with this, love the changes, either way croped or not, I really like it.

11-29-2009, 06:31 PM

I really like how this turned out -- both versions. Great thread with lots of interesting commentary for the group. Thanks for sharing.


11-29-2009, 07:02 PM
Wow! I just love what you ended up with! Great color, and you've resolved the composition beautifully! The crop is perfect! Nice stuff!

11-29-2009, 07:30 PM
Ok - I'm on board with this version. Wow!!! Color rush!


Kathryn Wilson
11-29-2009, 07:59 PM
Thanks Donna, Ed, Celeste, Scotty Nancy, Chris and Barb!

That's what I love about the pastel forum - artists helping artists. Group hug!:grouphug:

11-29-2009, 08:56 PM
Turned out beautifully!

11-29-2009, 10:25 PM
It turned out great!!!! Sometimes we learn most from our pieces that bring upon the struggles!

Deborah Secor
11-29-2009, 11:02 PM
Agreed, agreed! Great finish, Kat! LOVE the crop...


11-29-2009, 11:07 PM
Kat; very cool. What I like is your play of complements and the perfect union of vibrant Hues. Terrific.

11-29-2009, 11:28 PM
This is beautiful. I like the uncropped version best, but both are very nice.