Saturday, February 21, 2009

winter morning unfolds

I don't often paint from other peoples' photos. It's less to do with artistic integrity (and all those !?#!*! rules I mentioned in an earlier post) and more to do with the fact that I like to compose my landscape photos much like I do my paintings, so the viewfinder is as much a tool for me as a paintbrush. Occasionally someone else's photography strikes my fancy, though, and I can 'see' my own interpretation in it, though even then I find that I always make changes to better suit my evil cosmic plan.

The painting I posted yesterday was one of those. I saw the photo quite by chance on another blog that I don't normally visit and asked the photographer for permission to use it. After a long winter I was feeling like I could do the subject matter justice, though I knew I needed to lower the horizon line and move the foreground trees around to create a more dynamic composition. Early on in the process, though, I felt like I'd made a mistake. It seemed that trying to apply my high-contrast, graphic landscape style to the soft focus, pastel tones and flat landscape of Richmond Park in London was more of a challenge than I'd bargained for, and using such a strong hue as an underpainting colour a mistake when using an unfamiliar colour palette. But, without obstacles comes no learning, so I kept at it. Here's how the bottom third of the painting looked initially:

I wasn't satisfied with the way the depth-of-field was shaping up, though, so I darkened the woods and copses a bit:

The last part was easier, though blending acrylic paint with no retarder of any kind meant I had to work fast to get the gradations working:

Still I wasn't satisfied. The blue strip looked like a river rather than a different part of the meadows, so after consulting my adviser, I decided to go with it and play up the look of a frozen river with more tonal gradations. I also added detail to the foreground trees on the left and some shadows to the fluffy bush-like trees in the upper right. In the end (see below) I'm pretty happy with it as I discovered that I didn't need to alter my style radically to create a very different sort of landscape from the kind I'm used to.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like th eposts where you show a painting int he making - I find it fascinating.

21/2/09 11:30 a.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Very clever to go with the flow of an icy river...

I think you improved on the photo a hundred fold!

22/2/09 1:10 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Thanks you both and Caroline -- I think I needed to hear that for a number of reasons!

22/2/09 3:12 p.m.  
Blogger Toni said...

Don't you just love it when you can go with the flow. The painting really is alive.

22/2/09 4:44 p.m.  
Blogger Peter said...

That brought back memories! I used to live near Richmond Park in London and spent a lot of time there drawing and taking photos.

23/2/09 12:06 p.m.  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

This is absolutely stunning! I can't believe a dark red is underneath that luscious pastel sky. I so love your paintings and your very unique Andrea style. I've never seen another artist paint like you and you do it so well!

23/2/09 11:07 p.m.  

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