Monday, December 15, 2008

Demo - Fall Aspens Part 2

Okay, so when I left off yesterday (see my previous post for the start of this demo), I had just finished blocking in the major shapes and color for this painting. I'm sometimes leary of painting subject matter like this - the aspens are so bright in the fall that it's easy to go too far when painting them. One thing on my mind as I'm working this painting is to make sure that the yellow leaves of the aspens are contrasted by greys in the background and trunks. Without the use of more neutral colors, the leaves wouldn't appear to be as bright as they are, and the whole painting could be overwhelming. Anyhow, so here's where we left off:

Next, I start to work back into the dark knots on the trunk, giving them more shape and adding some darker twigs and branches.

At this point, the aspen foliage is a bit blocky and lacking in dimension, so I start to work back into it, starting by adding some more color to the darker areas, and defining the shape of the trees more accurately.

Next, I add some lighter values to the foliage to give it more dimension and light. At this point, I'm using more paint and using texture to give the leaves some visual interest up close.

The last major area that needs work is the grass in the foreground. As with the other areas, I work into the hillside with darker values first, then lighter values, trying to soften this area a bit so that it doesn't compete with the aspens for interest.

So, that's where I've left the painting at this point. Here are a few closeups (sorry for the glare):

I'd say the painting is about 97% done at this point. Looking at it now, I can see a few things that are bugging me - the lower right hand corner is undefined, and the strong diagonal of the grassy hill is leading the eye right down and out of the painting. There's some funkiness going on in the mid-left. I'll wait a few days and go back in to rework these areas, and I'll post a better final photo then.


  1. lovely journey of a painting, and wonderful destination!

  2. Beautifully painted! So subtle and natural.

  3. The piece is fabulous, and I really love the you'll have to post a video of you at work ;)

  4. I don't do landscapes often. But you sure make me want to go the mountains to give it a try.

    Your demo deals with such universal ideas that all painters can use.

    It's all about composition, drawing, light and not forgetting to look at the whole as you build relationships between the parts.

    Above all, you show pure joy in the experience of painting.

    Once again, you have inspired this ol' still lifer.

  5. Thanks all!

    Veronica - I don't know about the video of me painting - I always love to see the ones other artists do, but it seems like so much editing!!!

    Mike - you should get outside and do some landscapes - they're fun =)