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Oil Painting "Deer Overlook"
In creating an oil painting there is one principle that is just about a one hundred percent accuracy in that the light source in your painting will effect the colors and values of the total painting composition. Therefore in the Deer Overlook painting it behooves me to start painting the colors from the sky area first.
Even a sky has a background and so using Thalo Blue, Cobalt Blue and some Titanium White I brushed and blended in a light blue atmosphere background to start with. The first brushing was not the desired blue color to my liking so I applied a second brushing. This gave the sky more of a color where the clouds can have contrast.
Out of the many snap shots of clouds I selected an image of clouds that had light from the setting sun illuminating clouds from the left side. This cloudy art reference image works well in this art piece because I want the landscape valley to be lit up from the same direction. The additional principle of perspective or distance is created due to the larger clouds in the forefront and smaller clouds in the background near the horizon line.
How Clouds Created Distance in this Painting
First is to mention the three oil colors I used for blending and mixing to achieve the colors to paint the clouds for this artwork. For painting the cloud shadows the colors of Alizarin Crimson and Viridain where mixed together that lets you create an almost dark black hue. I find this method of color mixing much richer in hue and better to work with than Ivory Black from an artist tube. Adding a little white to a bit of this mix will give evidence to the color being on the reddish or greenish side. Adjust this mixture until it's color results in a even gray color. Interestingly most everything we see around us in nature contains some form of gray.
The artist paint for the blue sky on the canvas only had one day of dry time and was still a bit wet before I started brushing in the clouds. This made painting these clouds easier. It afforded the opportunity in that I cloud blend some cloud colors into the blue letting me brush in somewhat transparent clouds. A thing to keep in mind when painting clouds is that clouds have form. Clouds are not flat in the sky. You can tell that clouds have a top, sides and a bottom. They have shape, a form that when painted can be seen in a painting.
Placement and size of your clouds has an effect as to how your artwork is perceived. Clouds should not be the same size near the horizon line of your painting as they are else where in the visible sky. Generally when things are closer they are much larger. A good art study is to compare the clouds at high-noon in the daytime sky to those on the horizon on a cloudy day. Distant clouds on the horizon will appear smaller than the ones overhead.
Note the background blue sky. It was painted near the top of the canvas in a darker hue than the blue hue near the horizon. Like in the real world the atmosphere become thicker as we look toward the horizon in the distance. More air means the more material we have to look through which becomes lighter in color. Though the painted clouds at the top of the canvas have the same hue as the lower clouds they have less emphasis because of the blending of the background dark blue to light blue.
Painting Background Mountains or Hills
Distance is seen in colors of the mountains as you view the landscape further away from you. When painting the landscape furthest back keep in mind that the color should be lighter than that of the mountains or hills your painting that's closer to you. Notice in the third image down how the hillside has more color nearer the foreground than those off in the distance. Once again the atmosphere tones down the colors.
For painting the mountains on both sides of this artwork composition I used artist oil paint colors of Alizarin Crimson, Cadium Yellow Light, Colbalt Blue and Yellow Ochre. I combined Yellow with Blue to create a medium Green color to use as a base color and then darkening with my made up Black of Alizarin Crimson and Viridian for darker areas. Where I painted the hues darker there's a tiny bit of Reddish Brown tint. This is because I did experiment with brushing in some Cadmium Red which is much brighter then Alizarin. I found this to be quite enjoyable for it turned out to be a learning event that brought out a better painting. It seemed to bring out a richer color than what I've been used to.
To lighten the distant mountains I changed my painting technique on this one. I really believe it will forever be changed from here on in. In the past I would automatically dip the bristle tips of my paint brush into White for lightening things up.
In many of my painting sessions I would generally lighten my colors with White. Steering away from this approach I instead focused on using one of the primary warm light colors. In brushing the furthest mountains of the background composition I found that greater richness in colors was achieved. I don't know how your computer graphics depicts the colors from the photo image but as it sits on the canvas the painting's colors are deep and pleasing to look at.
What I feel is need in the next painting session is a more detailed painting of tree clusters. Some where near the base of the waterfall will be the starting position. Here beginning with small evergreens and as I continue to paint towards the bottom of the canvas these will become larger. This should really give a feeling of depth to this artwork in creating distance from the art viewer perspective.
The mountain ridge will be the judging point as to how tall and at what hue to paint the evergreens in for the background. It acts like a compass for the valley area of the composition giving direction for keeping the sizes of the trees uniform. Wouldn't want to paint a big old tree on the horizon that would make it appear to float.
So I start near the horizon line and paint small trees with a light hue while using the mountain slope as a guide for tree height. As the artwork progresses along the mountain ridge the trees are painted taller and with a richer hue. To help the trees have a little more contrast I've brightened up the landscape near them a little bit.
Painting Rocks and Boulders Along Stream to Waterfall
I really like the immediate affect that is created as the rocks are painted in. It sets the mountains and river bed valley further back into the distance. An artist term known as Layering can be used for this approach. Basically it's painting the background first and then brushing in other elements as you work toward the foreground. This along with the cloudy blue sky really gives a realistic feeling of being on mountain side looking out onto the scenery. I used oil paint colors of Viridain, Alizarin Crimson to make a gray and then in different areas lighten with Titanium White.
This is the first brushing for getting the layout of the rocks in order. By painting this way I am able to build each rock element separately so as not to loose the depth effect. It's always being mindful of the location and direction of the light source. Those rays of light will demand highlights and shadows to be painted in at just the right places.
I've gotten together a number of reference photographs of rocky stream to study and help with this part of the painting. Darkest areas of the stones are always be near the bottom portions of the boulders and the lightest areas at the top portions. So it seem best to begin brushing these boulders at the darkest places and then paint to the lighter side.
At first I was have a tad bit of a little trouble and not liking the way the rocks where turning out. With the addition of Yellow Ocrhe on the boulders the painting began to take on a new different look.
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