View Full Version : Summer Place

01-31-2000, 01:14 PM
Hi everyone, I think I need help here. This is a painting in progress of a cottage that we take every summer. It is sort of a composite of several photos that I have where you can see parts ot the building and surrounding area. A lot of the details are just sketched in or blocked in in white at this point but I feel that I am being ambiguous about shadows - mainly because I am not sure of where or how much. My background sky is to me a late afternoon sun but the photo I used for this had light reflecting up on the building as well. Any suggestions?

[This message has been edited by Patti (edited January 31, 2000).]

01-31-2000, 03:22 PM
Beautiful painting Patti.

Don't know if this is at all helpful to what you are asking...

I get the feeling that the picture is taken by a person standing under a tree or with a large tree just behind. There is a heavy shadow on the grass in front of the house (at the bottom of the painting). There is no explanation to the viewer why there is a shadow there. So... a suggestion could be to add something in the near ground (part of the tree suggested by the shadow perhaps) to give the painting more depth. (Alternatively you could place some of the furniture on the lawn really up close so you only see part of it).

I also think that there should be more light on the foliage behind the house, the trees look too dark compared to parts of the house facing towards the light. It is probably just some highlights missing.

The painting is mostly done in cool colors (except for the bike) - I think adding some warm colors could work (perhaps the windows could have curtains, or why not make the door inviting with a suggestion of a red "curtain". Add carefully - nothing flashy.


[This message has been edited by henrik (edited January 31, 2000).]

01-31-2000, 11:41 PM
I think adding some sun on the grass in the foreground where it spills through the tree behind you would really help bring this painting up a notch as well as the suggestions above. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

Life is less about who you are, and more about who you choose to be.

02-01-2000, 09:19 AM
Thanks henrik and Electra. I did some more work on this last night,putting some flowers in the boxes and hanging baskets but trying not to get too flashy. (warm it up a bit) The grass did get kind of dark in the foreground. I was trying to convey distance but you are right, it does look like a shadow, I think I will try the sun filtering through. I still cant decide how much of the area directly in front of the buildind should be in shadow though...

02-01-2000, 09:45 AM
Don't know if this helps you...
What is the feeling/story you are trying to communicate? You said it was afternoon - by looking at the placement of the stuff in front of the house it looks like the people living there have had an active day. What are they doing now? What is the feeling; the cold inside vs. the warmth and love inside, sadness inside because it is the end of the day, etc. What do you want the spectator to FEEL looking at your painting?

Maybe these questions will help you decide on the shadows and colors; how dramatic they should be, cold/warm etc.

Visit my homepage at Artistnation (link works now) (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/henrik)

02-01-2000, 09:56 AM
henrik, you are absolutely right. It lacks feeling. I have 10 years of wonderful memories at this place and I really love it there. I am afraid it looks a little like a real estate advertisement. I will work on this tonight. Thanks again,


02-01-2000, 02:23 PM
You've gotten some good suggestions already with the shadows and especially with adding some light to the trees in the background. I like the idea of putting the table and some chairs in the foreground...this would give more depth to the painting and invite the viewer in also. Think about the late afternoon sun bathing all the scene with a warm glow..glazing a warmer hue across your roofline and down onto the side of the house then out into the walks and front lawn would give the eye a path to follow thru the painting. I can also see a left shawl hanging on the arm of one of the chairs...just a reminder that folks were here and are inside now sharing a warm meal or a cool drink! Love the painting...what a wonderful place to have memories of..carlyne www.artistnation.com/members/paris/chclements/ (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/chclements/)

Bruce Rohrlach
02-01-2000, 10:18 PM

Your going to have a fantastic painting (it already is)once some of those previous suggestions are applied - esp. the dappled sunlight effects. What medium are you using ???. I like your style heaps - The lawn is rendered nicely (need some sunlight) and the hazy diffuse cloud effect is great. I presume that's a beach and bay on the left - any chance of extending a few inches to show more of the beachy holiday feeling (not too much tho)- that way the house won't be absolutely squarely centred but still remains the principal focus. Nice.

[This message has been edited by Bruce Rohrlach (edited February 01, 2000).]

02-03-2000, 10:11 AM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I have tried to implement some of them here. I was unsure about my ability to pull off the perspective on furniture placed in the foreground so I tried a beach ball instead.
Does it work at all? I need to put some grass around it and I think still more highlights in the lawn. Still have some shading to do on the porches and ball as well. Bruce - I should have mentioned that it is oil, 16X20 and - I am amazed by your paintings! Wow! (I think I need to save up for a trip to Autralia) Thanks again,


[This message has been edited by Patti (edited February 03, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Patti (edited February 03, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Patti (edited February 03, 2000).]

02-03-2000, 11:32 AM
Patti: your painting is really coming along. I like the changes you have already done and I like the beachball addition. You keep it up girl. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif I want to see more of your work. Do you have an artistnation site?

02-03-2000, 01:28 PM
Henrik, I love it! Wish I could go home right now to paint. Do you think I could have a trail of my son's belongings instead of the boule balls? It would look so natural, (he is 14 years old and tends to leave things all over). Boy you are fast and good! Thanks,

02-03-2000, 02:31 PM
Sure, that is even better I think. I tried to grab the bicycle leaning against the wall first (since it is red), but that was to difficult to edit (it was too small and wrong perspective), I actually just dabbed some red on the lawn to see what it would look like - so they became balls. The important thing is that you provide the viewer with a trail of objects to follow, and that they are warm in color. Don't make it too obvious though, and they dont have to be all in the same color (as you can see I used green, blue and a bit of yellow on the balls too).

On second thought; it may be important that the things are round; they go well with the beach ball, and contrast with the mainly square shapes in the "house area", they also connect to the round shapes of the trees.

The idea with your son's stuff is great; If I lived there I can imaginge having called out that dinner was ready and the kids just abandoning everything. The title "suppers' ready" comes to mind...

Now you made me hungry http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by henrik (edited February 03, 2000).]

02-04-2000, 12:49 AM
Patti, I think it is a great improvement. I could not help my self to edit your image to show the points I tried to make earlier.
I have done the following:
I added some boule balls (dont't know if they are called that in English) in the middleground - they are poorly rendered, but I think the effect come through. The idea is to increase depth and lead the eye towards the door.
I added warm colors to the door and windows. (They had a green tone)
I thought that the sides of the house got too much attention; I darkened the right side (our view), and blurred the left side (the blurring is a bit too much). I think it would be enough to get rid of the two lines outlining the roof.
The flowers added to (our) left took away focus from the door, so I blurred them.
I added some flowers to the sides of the door, and added a bit of color too them.
I deepened some shadows, and added shadows under furniture.
I added some more highligts on the trees.
I increased the contrast on the roof somewht. I also blurred the (our) left edge of the roof.
I thought the tree on (our) left got too much attention so I blurred it (but overdid it I think).
The lawn was to dark, and the beach ball ended up in shadow. I lightended the area, and added more light on the ball.
Anyway, I think the overall effect now is that focus is now more in the center of the painting, and that you feel invited to walk up those steps to meet the family inside.

A little more work on the flower arrangement around the door; perhaps adding some more specks of color there would increase the effect even more.

02-04-2000, 01:11 PM
Great job, Patti! I like your latest version a lot. The trail of your son's things is a good idea.

The only thing that bothers me about it is that I can't tell where the light source is. It must be a cloudy day, since there are no harsh shadows, but some of the sky shows, so the sun would probably be brighter. It appears that the shadow of the "tree behind the painter" places the sun at 5 o'clock (behind right shoulder, not time of day) and the shadow of the roof on the right side of the house places the sun at 11 o'clock but both sides of the house are in shadow so it's hard to tell, the trees in the background puts it at 9 o'clock and the furniture, steps, ball have no shadow at all. Giving the furniture, steps, etc a good shadow would anchor them to the ground, and getting them all to agree with each other would make it more real.

Ok, I couldn't resist playing with the image. Hope you don't mind, but here's some shadows added. I stuck some leaves in front becuase of the shadow in the foreground.


[This message has been edited by robinsn (edited February 04, 2000).]

02-04-2000, 01:48 PM
Hi Randy, You see this was my dilemma in the first place. The painting is made up of components from different photos so I had no clear reference for shadows to speak of. The photos that I was mainly using (cottage and sky) both were taken late in the day, therefore the sun would be at nine oclock. I was procrastinating on the shadows under the furniture because if memory serves me the whole patio area should be in shadow by this time of day. I hesitated however to make the scene too dark. The "shadow" on the lawn was really not ever supposed to be a shadow since there is nothing there but open space. I do like your additions however, especially the leaves. Thanks for taking the time to give me your input!

02-04-2000, 05:38 PM
Yes, I see what you mean. I think you have to pick a light source and go with it! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif If it were me, since the trees are done with the sun in front to the left, I would match the rest of the painting to that, if for no other reason than the trees are really good and the rest would be easy to change http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

To make the entire patio in shade seems it would take much of the life of the painting which comes from all of the objects there, but if the sun is at 9:00, I don't see why the patio would be in the shade.


Drew Davis
02-04-2000, 06:06 PM
Sounds like a case for painting it like you want it to be, and never mind how it is in the photos. The title is "Summer Place", so it ought to be warm and bright.

02-05-2000, 11:00 AM
Randy, I guess I didn't really understand what you meant by 9:00. The cottage faces east so the sun goes down pretty much right behind it but I think Drew is right and since I like the way it looks with the shadows where you put them I think that I will take that direction. Thanks for everything.


02-05-2000, 02:17 PM
Sorry Patti. My "o'clock" directions are how the pilots designate locations of enemy planes (at least in old war movies like 12o'clock high, etc ) http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

You imagine yourself sitting on a clock face looking at the 12. Then, to say which direction, you see what number it's next to. So directly left would be 9:00. My shadows placed the sun about 7:00. If the sun were directly behind the house, that would be 12:00. And you could get fancy and say 12o'clock high which would place it high above the 12, etc. You don't watch old war movies, do you? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif


02-05-2000, 11:02 PM
THe roof will be darker, as the trees from the right cast the shadows on it. In general the right side of the house and the ground should be darker. The walls under the roof in the front should be slightly darker too. The shadows in the front are too opaque, thick, not transparent. Try to make them interesting, but it's hard to do, if you paint from the photo. Usually all the shadows seem black. Remeber that the shadows at the distance should be lighter in value than those in the front.

02-15-2000, 08:23 PM
Henrik, what do you think of these buckets and fire pit? The buckets are lifted & pasted, just trying to form a plan here. The fire pit needs work and I thought to bring some red into the stones.??

(hard to get the color to look true to the piece)

[This message has been edited by Patti (edited February 16, 2000).]

02-17-2000, 07:47 AM
Hi Patti, nice chat yesterday. Been looking at your painting a bit more...

As we discussed yesterday...
I think the red bucket performs the function of leading the eye towards the stair and the door. You don't really need the pink bucket; in fact I think it actually stops the flow towards the stairs rather than improve it. Also, since the red bucket does it's job well, you don't really need the fire pit to be more pronounced.

I liked your idea yesterday about bringing more flowers to the stair/door area - make it even more inviting.

I like all the rest of the changes you made (shadows, warm color in windows etc).

One small thing that I think can have a big effect is that the left/right sides of the house (especially the left side) has very hard edges, and the roof to the left have two parallell lines that stand out. That pulls focus away from the main area of interest - Do you see this? Just use your fingers to block them out from your field of view - see it?

Great job Patti - you will have this finished in no time at all.

02-17-2000, 09:33 AM
Hi Henrik, last night was fun! Yes I see what you mean. I think I will fade those lines out so they blend in a little closer with the sky. I will have fun putting more flowers in around the door too. Thanks for looking at it again. I was looking at your work at artistnation and I really like The Statue That Ran Away and Stage Fright. Boy
you have certainly captured that feeling well... Take care,

02-17-2000, 05:15 PM
Have watched the progress of this painting with interest...a lot of the things I paint usually are from composite photos. You have done such a great job with your colors..
I agree with the second bucket that sits upright...stops the eye...I'd take it out.
The shadow in the foreground is still strong.
Anchor the red bucket with a few grass sprigs and a slight shadow...the shadows under the furniture are great! Softening the right side of the roof and the light on the right wing gives a stronger idea of where the light source is too.
Light source is always my biggest problem when working with photos..you are doing a wonderful job with this painting.

02-17-2000, 06:17 PM
Uh CH, did you mean to take out the red upright bucket, or the pink topped-over bucket? Taking out either will be better than having them both I think.

02-22-2000, 01:58 PM
Well guys, I think I am finished with this one. The colors are a little off (lawn is more washed with sunlightand has more naples yellow than it appears here), but the more I play with it on photoshop the worse it looks. Thanks for all your help and encouragement.

[This message has been edited by Patti (edited February 22, 2000).]

02-22-2000, 06:04 PM
Good job Patti - you managed to create the strong focus now, and there is readability moving the viewer towards the entrance. Love those flowers - warm colors attracts the eye - you feel invited.