Well, you not supposed to like every one and this counts as one I don’t like. I got bogged down off the start with the details in the barn and didn’t let the pins flow. It was frustrating because I could feel it right away. I took out the small brush and started in niggling. This is a second run at this particular scene of which I like the first attempt. I will revisit it as I like the subject matter.
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?
So my intention was to do some Plein Air painting when Steph and I went to a cabin at Edwards Lake last week- a cabin owned by her aunt and cousins 45 minutes southwest of Fernie BC. We went out for a week but when we arrived, found it unseasonably cold which didn’t let up for all but the last day. Too cold to go out painting in fact so I reached for two photographs that I took while on some excursions over the past year. I have a thing for old buildings, and barns fall into that category. One was shot in Proctor BC, the other just north of Eureka Montana. As with all the things I take pictures of, they simply have to have “good bones” as I call it. Bits and pieces that create the recipe for a good composition and give me the best opportunity to make a good painting if I decide that’s where the photograph wants to go. Both these locations had “good bones”. Both wanted to be paintings.
After watching some painting videos by two of my favourite artists – Richard Schmid and John Crump, I was inspired to try painting in a looser, more painterly style, roughing in quickly and developing the painting evenly in each area. Darks first, then the rest, trying to stay loose – easier said than done. Each painting took about 4 hours for the initial round and when I decided I needed to stop. I took the canvases off the board – taped canvas sheets on Masonite – and taped them to the wall where I would look at them under varying lighting conditions and decide on what could be done to improve them. Each painting was placed on the operating table for about half an hour of extra work adding some highlights, re-working bird holes and adjusting some local color and tones.
These two paintings worked well for me. I learned a lot about staying loose although I realized after, that the detail still managed to find its way in. The foregrounds stayed loose and have the feel that I’m striving for. Still not sure about my trees. They still feel unresolved to me but better. A bit of a struggle as John Crump would say.
As promised, I am posting any and all paintings even if I don’t think there successful as I learn from every one. This one took far too long and went through many iterations. I even started a time lapse of the process but it would have been a twenty minute movie covering several hours of me reworking the whole thing.
I was going to give up but decided that that was a bad idea and wouldn’t teach me anything so every time there was something wrong, such as the wrong color temperature, I would go in and fix it. I know that paintings sometimes simply are destined not to work out the way you want them too and I knew after awhile that this was going to be one of them. The foreground was giving me problems as well as the feel of the barn which started out way to flat and lifeless. Simply adding layers of texture to each are brought in some needed energy.
Anyway, I’ve called it done. Onto the next.