Thursday, October 1, 2009

That's Better

Here is the second attempt, a few days into the start. When its finished, this painting will highlight the stream of light through the forest at that magical hour. I have to admit, this piece has been challenging. The magical hour really only lasts an hour, so I have to work quickly, rely on instinct and memory. I've had to revise and move around several elements to improve the composition.

Here's some background on my technique. I usually start the picture with an outline, done in thin washes of earth color. I mark down where I want the trees to go, and the ground level. Then I go in and quickly fill the rest of the picture. At this stage its just a mass of light green for the tree cover in the background.

It's better to fill the canvas completely early on, even if its wrong, than wait until later. Everything is interactive. It's far easier to see mistakes when comparing a full canvas to nature. rather than a blank one.

The picture will grow and develop organically over the days and weeks it is worked on. It will gradually be layered with thicker and thicker paint. Areas that I've deliberately kept soft will be selectively sharpened. The trick is doing this in a way that keeps everything cohesive, yet still interesting.

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