|Painted from a reference photo taken at sundown, with warm evening sunlight and cool sky blues reflected in the water|
Composition with 5 shapes; color temperature
Using the fourth lesson on Color Temperature from Barbara Jaenicke’s oil course, Painting the Poetic Landscape, I made a thumbnail study from a photo I took recently on a road trip between Charlotte and Raleigh. Then I sketched it in with a brush onto a toned 9×12 sheet of paper primed with acrylic gesso and molding paste followed by a tonal underpainting.
For colors, I mixed a variety of cools and warms in the 4 basic values of my composition (blue, violet, orange, green). Blocked in the cool colors, then warm colors. Once everything was blocked in, I added details in the water ripples, plants, and tree trunk.
What I learned
The surface I experimented with (acrylic gesso + molding paste) didn’t work nearly as well for me as the one I made with a layer of matte medium. While toning this surface the bristles my hog bristle brush started to break off. I think it was too much like sandpaper for the natural hairs, so I switched to a large synthetic for the rest of the toning and scrubby block-in.
This underpainting got rather intense and red, much less neutral than my previous ones. I think it’s making my painting take on an overly pink tone, but I can’t tell if it’s that or I’m using too much red in my color mixes. Will have to continue to explore with that.
Two things I really like about this study:
- The two grassy plants in the water, and the way the palette knife carved some sharp lines out of the soft general shape. I went overboard with the peachy highlights on them, but the general approach was great!
- The colors in the water and the reflections.
I don’t like this composition very much…the thick tree trunk on the right cuts off the rest of the painting in an awkward way so there’s not a good flow. I thought it would make an interesting, abstract dark shape, but not so much. I actually prefer it cropped out:
|The composition is improved by cropping out the tree trunk on the right|