Evening road

Evening Road painting Jun 26 2019
“Evening Road”, 6×8 oil on panel

To continue practicing the feeling of finishing a painting in 60 minutes, I chose this photo I took one evening on a country road. I loved the way the sun was just coming over the trees and lighting up the road and ground. It was also a good opportunity to incorporate atmospheric perspective, creating the sense of moving back into the distance.

For the most part it was finished when the timer went off, but I did keep working on details for about 15 minutes longer. The important parts were done though, which is what I’m trying to cultivate because outdoor light changes so fast. I went out to the front yard the other evening to paint a little section of grass and pine straw, and before I knew it the sun that had been raking across the yard was completely gone behind the trees. Needless to say, that study did not turn out great!

I’m still working on applying thicker paint for a variety in texture. But I am happy with the colors in this one. I concentrated on making subtle shifts in the greens on the right as the trees get further away.

One of the hard things for me at this point is learning to ignore the tiny details and focusing on the bigger color and value changes that describe the forms. I’ve noticed that when I get sucked into the little changes in darks and lights, my shapes break down and become difficult to read. Mostly this is because I try too hard to stick to the photo and forget about making good shapes. When I was initially sketching this one in on my panel, I made the reference photo on my monitor black and white, posterized it to 6 values, and reduced the size so it looked like a thumbnail. This really helped me see the bigger shapes so perhaps it would be a helpful technique during the rest of the painting process, too.

Value thumbnail of simple shapes