Thursday, March 8, 2018

Painting Landscape Layers


Here are three more paintings I have completed so far this year. Since each includes trees and grass, I thought it might be helpful to compare the different ways I approach individual layers using the concept of "opposites attract".

In "Colorado Greens", the grass transitions from light brown to a soft, pale green. The tree line is darkest against the mountain range, in an attempt to create distance and contrasting values. I painted the foreground grass at a slight angle, which is different from the vertical layers of the trees and mountain range. Clouds also add another horizontal element, rather than painting the sky as a solid area of blue.


In "Everglades Marsh", the grass is separated by two bodies of water, with a long patch of shrubs in the distance. I used contrasting colors to separate the layers, with red tones in the foreground and yellowish-green in the middle layer. The same colors in the foreground grass are also used in the palm trees, to carry the eye upward. The other variation is in the type of brush strokes used to define the vegetation. The finest and longest lines are along the lower portion. This section of grass also has an irregular and random pattern as compared to the distant shrubs, with curved edges.

"Prairie Horse"
With "Prairie Horse",  I tried to depict the grass as a thick mass in the foreground, so the horse would become the focal point. There is little variation in color or texture in this layer.  Instead, the colorful, "activity" is behind the horse. The lighter vertical lines of the trees contrast with the darkness of the horse and background.
Whenever a painting is missing something, I start thinking of contrasting elements and "opposites" to (hopefully) solve the problems...
-Light vs dark
-Horizontal vs vertical
-Soft vs textured
-Abstract vs detailed
-Sky vs land & water
-Uniform vs random  
-Thick vs thin
-Colorful vs monochromatic
My goal is to create energy, variety, and overall harmony. In my opinion, most paintings also require areas where the eye can simply rest...
How do you trouble-shoot the different areas in your paintings? 

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