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Old 08-18-2005, 02:58 PM
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Mikki Petersen Mikki Petersen is offline
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Wood's Lake - Wip

Hello artists! I've been watching artist's demos (Albert Handel and Bob Rohm, both excellent DVDs) and searching for new views on things. Wood's Lake is a natural high Sierra lake surrounded on all sides by soaring peaks so it is often mirror smooth even though it is fed by three waterfalls. What I am trying for in this painting is to have most of the view be the reflection on the lake. Seemed cool when I thought about it, but it's turning out to be quite a challenge so I hope you will all dive in and give me lots of advice here.

First the main photo I'm working from:

I have additional refs that I'm using and have been back to the Lake twice to do color studies and I'm still struggling.

Here is my underpainting done with pastels washed with turps then allowed to dry. BTW, I'm working on WAlls Pro white, 18"x24".


Here I've blocked in my working sketch and now I'm worried I won't be able to carry off the composition with those two strong verticals slicing the scene.


Mikki
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Old 08-18-2005, 03:04 PM
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Mikki Petersen Mikki Petersen is offline
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Here I am after a couple more hours of mostly fussing and fuming. BTW, yes the sky reflection really is that bright a blue. This lake is at 7800 ft elevation and the air is amazing.

Now I'm really having trouble picking out colors. The Sierras are basically green trees and granite rock with brilliant skies. I posterized my photo to level 4 in Paint Shop, and surprise! A whole bunch of reds and purples popped up so my next step will be to incorporate some color.

Any thoughts so far?

Mikki
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Old 08-18-2005, 03:09 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

This is looking great Mikkie

Someone posted a request a few days ago looking for WIPs about skies and waters. I hope they see this one.

I would carry one of the verticals right down off the bottom of the page if this were mine.

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Old 08-18-2005, 03:18 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

The colour additions will help enormously Mikki, especially if you can use one of them to lead the eye where you want it, keeping it *off* those strongest verticals. Keep squinting, too- you'll note the value change in those two verticals is subtle, but keeps them from overwhelming the photo, so that needs to come into play in the painting, also. You know I'm not one for a "focal point", but I do think you may have to think about what the eye will be drawn to first- and right now, for me, it is the pile-of-rocks-island on the right. That's not supposed to be such a good place for a focal point, but if you can use colour to keep the eye moving, it won't be a problem.

Helluva project- glad it isn't mine. I *suck* at landscapes while yours generally always resolve themselves well.
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Old 08-18-2005, 03:40 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

One thing I have used, Mikki, to create reflection in deep water is to take the palm of your hand and pull the color from the shore line straight down-keeping in mind you are laying down the initial layer of pastel. Next add the tree, rocks and grass reflections as the second layer. If you look closely you can see from the photo the reflections are blurred ..Also a few horizontal lines on top tend to give the impression of water lines. I used this method when I painted this water scene Good Start Tom
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Old 08-18-2005, 04:45 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Mikki...have you tried turning the reference and the painting upside down? Since you want this to be about the reflection it seems then you could better judge what it needs. I think if you incorporate Tom's suggestions and gently blur the reflection it will make a big difference, also if you break up the tree trunks in the reflections it will take away from the vertical aspects. You can also try and get a gentler line between sky and mountain reflection when it's upside down, better perspective from your point of view. Maybe think soft lavender instead of pure white ripples, I think it might be moodier that way. Remember...paint the painting, not so much the photo. I know you'll pull this off, I've seen you do it time and time again.

(psst...Tom... isn't that one of the paintings the bank bought?)

Better listen to him , Mikki, he's one of the best landscape artists here (and I'm most definitely not teehee)
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:36 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Hey Mikki - I have a thought... when I look at this and squint down, I seem to see the value of the reflected blue sky to be almost as light as the reflected water shadows... but not necessarily in your final piece. Take a look and see if I'm right? It may mean looking at your work through a red filter to make sure the tonal range works. For some reason your sky seems lighter which pulls my eye there directly - which again may be your point. Same with the reflected clouds.

As for composition - I'll defer to the others.

As you know... landscapes aren't my forte but I alway have to give some advice on things...

I've gone and put both in B&W to see if that will help you a bit. I really notice the blurred reflections in the B&W version.

Also... do you underpaint your white paper before starting? Even with landscapes I find that helps.

Well... off to see whatelse I can learn from the others.






Hey Tom - nice painting!!! I think that drag down method was something Bob Ross did... Barb

Oh - one more thing... notice how much detail you have picked out on the tree in the foreground... but can you really see that? I find that one of my flaws with landscape is that I make too much detail out of things that really aren't as clear as what I think. I don't use my eye but think I see it and put it down on paper. (I may not be able to paint landscapes but I know what I do wrong...)
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Old 08-18-2005, 06:08 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Quote:
Originally Posted by bnoonan

Hey Tom - nice painting!!! I think that drag down method was something Bob Ross did... Barb

I think you may be right or the guy before him--anyway you can try this method using a packing peanut to save your hands... especially when using wallis paper.
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Old 08-18-2005, 06:20 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Still works by hand on Wallis- you just need a good 3 or 4 layer cushion.

Arnold ummmm- Whatshisname uses it, too.

(I'm aging- get off my- something....)

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Old 08-18-2005, 07:45 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Wow, Mikki, you've got some great help from everyone here! I'll just sit and watch this as it shapes up into a beauty!
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Old 08-18-2005, 08:22 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Well, Mikki, I know this is a WIP but I have to say that at the point of the last post I thought "It's a Group of Seven style!" Or, Emily Carr (if it were a little more dark and foreboding, I suppose).

So just thought I'd toss in my "I like it" right at this stage!

But I'll keep tuning in for further progress shots too!
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Old 08-18-2005, 09:15 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Watching this with interest Mikki - indeed, a complex challenge - but I know you are up to it.

Good hint on dragging the color down in the reflections - works for me every time! Still not sure about the blue sky in the lake - isn't there some rule about the color in reflections being darker? I never remember rules anyway -
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Old 08-18-2005, 11:30 PM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

I'm watching this one too, with much interest, thanks for posting it as a wip
piper
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Old 08-19-2005, 12:17 AM
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Mikki Petersen Mikki Petersen is offline
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Bad bad me...forgot to subscribe to my own post...

Thanks for all the great suggestions. Funny Tom, Bob Rohm uses that technique with the side of his hand also both to draw down reflections and to get the side to side ripple effect in the reflections. I really have not worked on the water yet, it's mostly still the underpainting so I'm glad you reminded me. Oh would that my paintings were as breathtaking as yours...I think that's why I'm whining about more color.

Barb, the black and white photos really add clarity for value. I don't know why I keep forgetting to do that...I do use a red film value finder though.

Julie, the little rock island is like the monument spot for the Lake and is definitely supposed to be my focal point. Can you tell me more about why it's not in a good place? It's in the upper right quadrant. I never heard that was a poor choice for positioning a focal point...in fact I jockeyed the comp around and thought that was the most pleasing location in my thumbnails.

Sue, I've been told before to check my work by turning it upside down but, of course, forget to do it. It might really be a useful tool for this piece. Lavenders are among the colors I plan to use for the reflected snow. There is already a lot of lavender in the mountains.

Kat, I'm hoping as I work the water and reflections to unify everything and get the blurry edges. My underpainting is just to block in masses. I know the white blob (which will be a reflection of the snowy mountain) is WAY too white and will work it down...I hope.

All of you pulling up to watch, thanks for checking in...hope this doesn't turn out to be a big disappointment.

I notice, especially in the black and white that the trunks of the trees on the left are too thick, especially in their reflections. Keeping that in mind, are there concerns about those strong verticals from top to bottom?

Also, looking at the reference photos, notice all those scattered trees in the mountain background? How detailed do you think I need to get with that? Can I call those mountains finished for the time being?

Thanks again for all the response!
Mikki
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Old 08-19-2005, 01:39 AM
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Re: Wood's Lake - Wip

Mikki, I think when you add in the other tree reflections from the shoreline and those rock islands, and put the main tree trunks on a diet to thin them down they won't be such strong verticals. They are also contrasted with a fairly strong horizontal line with the shoreline. Horizontals and verticals give a peaceful stable sense. The diagonals and curves of the mountains and reflections keep the piece from being static. The left hand quadrants are considered the sweet spots, but there is really no reason not to place your focal point in another quadrant or rather ninth as long as you have a good eye path to lead the viewer there. you will achieve that with your colorings. this is a splendid beginning and I look forward to watching how you resolve the various puzzles. Your work seems always to reach satisfactory resolutions.
TJ
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