Friday, February 19, 2010

Adding Details to Landscape Paintings Part 9 of 11 with Andy Braitman

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What we're doing now is getting to the end of the painting so this is where the "jewelry" comes in.

What I'm going to do is have a sense of sunlight coming to the left hand side of the trees and put in the shadow.

I've already got a nice horizontal banding in there so that going to let me take a little bit of light.

Use a soft brush, Im holding my brush almost parallel to the surface and lightly pull across the strong horizontal reference and you'll see it pull off paint in a way that looks very natural for bark.

I'll find a way of darkening it up on the other side without actually doing much. I perfected this as an artist, the whole idea of not doing anything and making it look like you're doing it. Maybe I perfected that as a teenager.

I've looked at nature enough to get a sense of volume. Rather than flat crisp edges, this sense of volume usually involves interest around the center of mass and less interest at the edges.

There are times when you want to pay attention to the edge like here where you're trying to separate and pull this tree out from the dark. You may go ahead and work on that edge to pull it forward but that also means that as that gets pulled forward you want to shift others back.

In some cases I may need to pop up whats happening behind and in some cases I may need to soften it.

So I've got my earlier green and I may thin this whole mass out by just pulling some green across the whole mass.

This may take 30 hours depending on how big the piece is and how much detail I want.

There is one big task that has yet to be done. I'm going to pull down some color in the water because this will eventually be the subject matter, the pretty, purple water.

I also need to find something along this bank of sufficient interest to really warrant this painting. Part of that's going to be probably making a really bright beech or birch tree.

I'm going to take my mixed grays and try to find a nice mid-tone. Just get a sense of some subject matter here, maybe multiples.

If I can get interest on the way a tree may pull off into one or two shapes rather than a single shape. By just assigning interest to this edge, maybe work at the base of the tree rather than at the top where I'm not sure if its going to work yet.

Maybe focus on the way it hugs the earth. So Ill have two little references, it would be nice to get a third one in there if I can.

As I break over all of that stuff it creates more of a sense of interest and form.

It gives us a sense of interest but I want to make certain that I dont get too cute. Since this is the shadowed side, I'll probably put a little darker paint on it.

Let's see if I can't come back up into those verticals on the other side.

Then I'll stand back and take a look and see if I've got a sense of interest. And its interesting but it's not enough, so I'll keep playing. I want to have some branches come off here. Most of us have a tendency to pull our branches out of the edge, I'm going to have branches off the center of the mass.

I'll pull some light off this way and correspond that with a darker color. Maybe cast a shadow. Ill do the dark first and then pull the light across.

I may need to darken it up a little more. I'm trying to see if this reference is enough to get it interesting. Well, its interesting but still not enough.

In the process of doing this, I'll probably pull another tree down somewhere. Maybe I can take this vertical line and pull it all the way down to the water. So that will be the next goal.

Its really fun to get to this stage of the painting and start to orchestrate how the eye moves through the piece.

This tree is going to come off the front edge, that darkness and contrast will broaden this up a little bit. Makes us look past all those other things in the painting.

The tree is still not hitting anything at the waters edge so I'll work on that a little bit.

Now I've noticed that right at the edge where the water hits the land there is a tendency for this khaki color to appear. Its a combination of things, I think part of it is reflecting the landmass and part of it is looking through the water to the dirt, to the base of the body of water.

I'm able to allude to the surface of that water by just dragging my brush across and letting it pull out some light.

If I put that khaki color in first and then come across with the blue it sorts of blends as it goes down. And it starts to give this really attractive illusion.

This isn't the only way to handle water, but when I don't have a subject matter and I want the water to be the subject Ill really play with it a little more to enhance it and pop it up. When I do that I'm going to have to darken that khaki color and darken the blue I'm using too. This water takes a while but its worth it.