Leafless trees study on edges

landscape study based on Painting the Poetic Landscape Edges and Editing lesson - completed
A study in edge handling and simplifying complex masses of leafless trees

Study topics

Simplifying vague, complex shapes; sky holes; overcast day

Process notes

Using the third lesson on Edges & Editing from Barbara Jaenicke’s oil course, Painting the Poetic Landscape, I made a thumbnail study from a photo I took while hiking a path in Durham. Then I sketched it in with a brush onto a toned 9×12 sheet of Fredrix acrylic-primed canvas, followed by a tonal underpainting.

landscape study based on Painting the Poetic Landscape Edges and Editing lesson - block-in
Tonal underpainting with softened, vague edges

Looked for opportunities to simplify values and lose edges, varying color and temperature. For colors, I mixed a variety of cools and warms in the 4 basic values of my composition. Moved around the canvas, testing colors for value and temperature before completing any particular shape. Finished with some sharp lines made with a palette knife and refinement of sky holes.

What I learned

Since my reference photo was taken on an overcast afternoon and things looked subdued, I really needed to watch my value contrast. I do wish I had made the gradient in the foreground stronger though by darkening and increasing the temperature a bit more in the lower area.

I saved the sky holes for the end, and they got a little rushed. Next time I would look more carefully at their structures, and slow down to make them less haphazard.

I love this color palette! I think it suggests that mellow, overcast light I experienced on my hike. There’s a lot of potential in that mowed field in the foreground that I could explore more.

This Fredrix canvas worked well, and the underpainting went onto it really nicely.