Over the last couple of days I have been attending a workshop put on by Jerry Markham – An artist from Vernon B.C. Jerry’s been painting professionally for over fourteen years and I discovered today that he is not only a talented painter, but also a very good teacher. Stands to reason as he was introduced to painting by Doug Swinton who is my current full time painting teacher. They have been friends for many years and have been on many Plein Air adventures together. There were a couple of things that he did which made him stand out to me.
The first was the phone call. Yes, a phone call to each workshop participant to find out if there was anything specific they wanted to work on. For one woman it was understanding decisions that had to be made quickly while painting En Plein Air. For me, we decided I would bring in a few of my half finished paintings to analyze and improve. I also brought paintings I believed to be done so he could see where I was when I had the time to complete the work in my studio. So I was a bit stunned when he suggested this painting to work on. First off, I thought it was done and second, I didn’t want to eff it up! But I agreed and taped it back up to the board and we began to dissect it
He thought the mountains didn’t sit back enough. They needed to be lighter and cooler. He liked the barn but thought the roof could use some value adjustments. Some of the colours were muddy and needed to be cleaned up and the trees needed some more highlights. My shadow colours were not right in some areas of the trees (that was the mud he was referring to).
So I got my palette prepped and began working under his careful eye.
This is where it ended up. Cooler lighter background to make it move back. Shadow colors warmed up and cleaned. On the left side behind the barn, I put in a tone to give the impression of the mid ground receding into the background. I also worked the foreground over slightly.
This is where I ended up. The background definitely sits back more. One of the things jerry mentioned was mixing a “new” colour for the highlights on certain objects like the mountains. They shouldn’t be created with the original color and just adding white. In this re-work, I did just that – mixed a slightly warmer colour to place in these lit areas. I like the trees with the adjusted shadow as well as the addition of some defining highlights. The foreground has more definition and punch as well.
Overall, I think it’s a nice improvement. What do you think?