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Old 04-30-2012, 05:48 PM
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Tree Study

Oil Pastels: neopastel, senns and holbeins
6 x 9: pastel paper ( , only using for studies) - so white checks show.

This is a study, as I continue studying landscapes.

I'm in the process of learning how to paint with pure colors (mixing, layering) w/o using black, browns or grays, and shadows. This is a study from a sample workup in a book, Capturing Radiant Light & Color by Susan Sarback - while the book concentrates on oils and soft pastels, OPs are easily adapted.

The underpainting is done with pure warm and cool colors, and are rather dramatic. In addition, I'm not used to painting trees w/purples and blues, but I'm trusting this process as I work my way through.

My questions are: can you see the definitions in the different land masses? Does it read three-dimensional to you? Your comments and feedack are welcomed. Thanks, Mary

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Old 04-30-2012, 11:25 PM
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Re: Tree Study

Mary, it reads 3D to me...the tree shadow is bugging me a bit but I don't know why...probably nothing wrong with it.
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:52 AM
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Re: Tree Study

Susan Sarbak's methods definitely work, and the paintings seem to shimmer with light. I like your tree and background which has nice depth to it, but I think the shadows need toning down a little as they seem too vivid for the tree.
I have often used a watercolour wash or soluble neopastel for the coloured underpainting when using oil pastels, as it helps to stop the OPs from becoming too thick too fast.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:57 AM
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Re: Tree Study

Hi Dwayne: Thanks for reviewing my work and providing me with feedback. I agree w/your assessment of the shadow and I've gone back to adjust it, as well as adjusted the photoshop image (contrast was way too high).

Hi Marion: Thank you, your comments were just what I needed to read. also agree with you w/re to the shadows and I've adjusted my painting, which I'll post in a bit.

Thanks for the tip on underpainting. I've used watercolor in the past, works great and soft pastel brush in w/water and sometimes alcohol. I haven't used soluble neopoastel, but plan to check it out.

I checked out your blog and website - you have an impressive portfolio of work. Beautiful use of colors and light.

Thanks, Mary
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:58 AM
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Re: Tree Study

BASED ON FEED BACK, several changes were made to the shadow under the tree, tree leaf edges, and I re-adjusted my camera for the photo to post. Please let me know your thoughts/comments.

Thanks, Mary

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:04 PM
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Re: Tree Study

Ah yes, much better. The dark shadow was pulling my eye to itself too much. This let's me focus on the light at the top of the tree more. I like this version better. You may want to go over the top a bit with a touch more yellow/light. It's difficult to say for certain over the internet though. Either way, very nice painting.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:52 AM
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Re: Tree Study

Hi Mary,
Working with only pure colors seems to me to be a chore but you are following along with a colorists sample. No use of grey...hummmm. I can't imagine that seeing how so much grey is in the landscape. I suppose if you layered color over color you will end up with those greys down the line. I think Michael (Michaelmcg) took workshops with Susan. Good luck with the path your on Mary.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:23 AM
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Re: Tree Study

Hi Dwayne: thanks so much for checking back in. Appreciate your feedback and direction w/re to the shadow. It does read better now. Also I have since gone back to work some more with the tree branches and trunk, both are much better and have a natural look to them. Thank you for your encouragement.

Hi Ron: It's nice to hear from you - thank you for your comments, because I agree w/much of what you had to say especially w/re to neutrals and grays - I'm forcing myself not to reach for them. The process that I'm taking myself through is a way to explore and learn to work w/colors if I'm to grow as a painter. I needed a guide to show me different ways of examining and mixing colors - Susan's process has done that. Your mentioning of Michael, explains how some of his work has brilliance. While Susan's technique is appropriate for some subjects, there are many others that are best to leave as nature intended.

Ultimately my goal is to find a happy medium where I can bring some brightness to my work, but not to the extent that it overwhelms the viewer.

I've almost completed Susan's book and will draw a final conclusion of how I'll move forward. Some sample studies that will be posted you'll look at and go what? Hopefully I'll be better off for having stuck through it to the end.

Last edited by Flycatcher10 : 05-02-2012 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:39 AM
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Re: Tree Study

Thanx for posting this interesting thread.
Never heard of this instructor but I like what you have done.
I will looking her up, and following this for future posts.

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Old 05-02-2012, 03:15 PM
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Re: Tree Study

Hi Greg: Thank you! Was nice to receive your comments.

I personally found that Susan Sarbacks' book has many incredibly useful tips: how to select a subject and what to look for, setting up a composition, initial sketches, and her 4-stage process for laying down color. Many items in her book make sense with some ah-ha's. Finally, the main reason for the book, is how to see full-spectrum color w/any subject you're painting.

This book is not an end-all, no book is - but there is enough meat in it that for me is well-worth the money spent. I'll definitely incorporate some of her techniques/processes, but not all.

In the end I hope to achieve a happy medium and improve the quality of my work. It's a growing process, right?
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:38 AM
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Re: Tree Study

I agree with Wayne. touches of yellow on the tree will make it zing.

Thanks for you comments on my website. It is much appreciated that you took the time to look.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:31 AM
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Re: Tree Study

Wow Mary this is fantastic, great to see you exploring the world of colour! Your paintings have taken on a new dimension and Susan Sarback's definitely changing your view of the world. I like both versions A LOT but if I had to pick my favorite it would be the first, I like the excitement of the colour here and it adds to the drama of your piece.

OP's is a hard medium to stay true to pure colour as they don't blend as well as paint.

I don't own a tube of black paint and would recommend this book "Blue and Yellow don't make Green" by Michael Wilcox. It is my favorite book for colour theory.

Well done
Vicki
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:49 AM
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Re: Tree Study

Hi Marion: Thank you for reviewing this study of the tree. I agree about additional touches of yellow, I let the painting rest and waited until this morning to add them - not a lot, just a bit here and there. You guys are right they gave the tree a nice little "pop". Thank you so much for the suggestion.

Hi Vicki: Thanks so much for your encouragement and support for my studies! I think some of the high chroma was my adjustments w/photoshop in order to post propertly, it ended up being a bit much. But thanks for your kudo's it is much appreciated.

Also, Vicki thanks for the recommendation on the book, will make a point to check it out. Studying colors is proving to be very helpful to me, especially with the massive variety that can be found in landscapes.
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