ON the only sunny day this week I did a small landscape oil pastel painting in size of ca. 15X20 cm or 7×8 inches, which I finally cropped to the square format above. Here is how that piece developed.
1. Selection of the picture frame>
I liked the fast changing light on this day with moving clouds. In the distance I noticed there were interesting contrasts between a row of apple trees and a forest in the background. Meadows further away glowed in sunlight whereas those near me appeared much darker in the shadow of the clouds.
2. Start and under painting
I cut a bigger monotype print into smaller pieces as support for some oil pastel sketches. So the surface was already covered with dried oil paint. In the upper area with blue and red and in the lower area with green color which seems suitable for this landscape sketch.
1. I started with blank white to mark the brightest areas for the clouds. It is always possible to tone down from white, but impossible to tone up from a dark under painting to the brightest white. The final solution is to scratch off the dark under painting
2. patches of green oil color on the support go together well with the colors for the forest in the background.
3. the small,distant tree tops in sunlight are marked with a bright green first, as floating forms so to speak, I want to add the tree trunks later. I do not copy the form and number of trees seen exactly, only what I think is suitable for the image.
4. dark color area on the support which I possibly better had used for a strong shadow area but did not do so. I noticed only later that I lost an opportunity there by following the “realities” too much.
5. and 6. I use two different blues for the sky only : light blue and turquoise blue.
7. to darken the grass on the left I first put down a layer of brown.
3. Dark under painting
When I want to get a very dark color I use black as under painting and build on that the color I want to darken. To add more life and variety I also use black in combination with dark violet as in the background forest here. Later I will add layers of dark warm greens.
4. Finished painting and plan for corrections
This is what I ended with. At home I had another look at the picture and identified a couple of problems.
1. The big cloud attracts a lot of attention as it looks like a boxing glove, also the red color on the support shines through a bit too much I think.
2. There is a tree trunk that touches the tree to his left as a tangent also it ends somewhat obscure.
3. That distant tree top is flat like a disk
4. The color and look of the dark background forest seems too dull
5. There is an odd shape of sky vs. tree top
6. There is a spot of darker grass that is not properly connected with the sunlit part which it should be associated with.
7. Some of the yellow spots I added for the yellow flower blossom on the meadows seem too big and distracting
5. Preview 0f the corrections
I did the corrections only on the digital image first by using Photoshop elements. The cloud looks much better I think also the little problems with the odd sky from and
tree trunk are solved. The flat tree top still is a bit of a problem, but I think by adding a light shade on the right side I might be able to create some volume.
After I had started to reduce the yellow flower spots in the meadow I noticed that the perspective, the feel of space would improve if I took away most of those close to the background.
Finally I found that the left part of the picture is not really necessary to have, so I cropped it to square format.
But what if I would add the small tree nearby to the compositions? Wouldn’t that be better? What do you think?