Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Mountain Vista Paint Along class results

This class turned out to be most interesting. We all painted from the photo below. It has so much going for it, but it's not perfect. We discussed at length what was of interest, what seemed weak, and possible ways to recompose it.

Photo (c) Jeanine Patterson.
  • beautiful colors in sky, lake and trees
  • excellent contrasting values
  • nice shapes in the lake and middle hillside
  • low horizon
  • two tall and two medium trees
  • trees the same height
This is a "here and there" painting. In other words, it has trees right up here in front, and a distant view out there. There's little linking here with there. We discussed using one big spruce tree right in front to establish where our feet must be, as well as possibly using one aspen as a 'pointer' to guide the eye up toward the area of greatest interest. The question was, which ones and where?

We agreed that the area of greatest interest is the sheen on the lake surrounding the curve of the hillside. The complex positive and negative shapes, the contrasting values, and curving shapes draw the eye.

It's best to make some sketches to see what looks good, of course. I tried using one large tree on the left side, but it seemed unbalanced. Then I tried one medium tree on the right to break up the large mass of the middle hill, but that seemed stunted. I liked the higher horizon line.

In the end , as a result of our discussion, I decided the composition worked well with a high horizon, a pointer gently guiding the eye into the area of interest, and the large pine tree establishing the footing for the viewer.

Demonstration (in progress), 9x12" pastel
My students took off with the idea and reinterpreted it in different ways to suit their own style and thoughts. It's always fun to see how the class discussions feed into the resulting paintings. Each one is unique.

Keep painting, gang!