Monday, October 06, 2008

"California Summer Fields"

"California Summer Fields" - Oil - 6" x 8" - SOLD

"This is a fine little work, a gem. The warm summer grasses contrast with the cool, greyed eucalyptus trees and make California the unique and beautiful place it is." --- SFG

Work in progress...

The purpose of this demonstration is to show that the steps for doing a painting are the same, whether the painting is large or very small. This canvas is 6" x 8". In the drawing stage, you can see how I've worked out a composition. I've paid attention to the perspective and vanishing point and have used the high horizon line.

I am starting with a # 8 brush for this small canvas. Normally, I start with at least a # 12. I have blocked in eucalyptus trees. I will be aiming for that blue-green color they are known for. I'm using a somewhat dark mass in the background, that I may make into mountains when the painting is further along. The dark mass in the front is for balance. Notice how I am using an asymmetrical balance with several trees on the left and one on the right in addition to a large dark mass on the left (shrubbery) and less of it on the right. The lighter foreground area serves to lead the eye to the middle ground and balances the darks on the foreground right.

Here I've laid in that familiar golden grass for which California is called the "golden state." When I lived in green, green, green Louisiana, I thought "golden state" referred to the gold rush, but the name actually comes from these summer grasses. Also, it seemed odd to me, at first, that the grass is green in the winter and not in the summer. However, I've come to love these reversed seasons.

With the canvas fully covered, I will work to correct and refine the relationships of the colors. For instance, now that I've laid in the middle ground, I think that I will cool down and lighten the darks at the horizon line so that it stays back, in its proper plane.

Here I've worked to hit the correct color and value relationships. Notice the changes compared to the previous photo (these two photos are both too yellow. I don't know why my camera did that, but the battery was low.) I've also redesigned the patchwork fields for balance in the middle ground.

Here's a nice little image with clean color because I've used enough paint in each area. I noticed as I painted that I used very little medium. (I use only paint thinner when I need a medium. Modern paints have enough oil to bind securely.) Another factor contributing to its success are the simple shapes I created.

1 comment: said...

beautiful Susan!, just a good painting.