The under painting is done. Here is a refresher peek at the sample provided. To me this appears like a foggy day of snowing on the mountain. Toning down all the colors by applying a layer of gray and then rapidly wiping with sponges to remove layers.
Before the Fog on the Mountain
Here is a picture of wall A before the fog layer is applied to the mountain scene. You can see the bright trees and slopes very clearly.
After the fog layer application here is how it appeared.
After the FogThe difference is really noticeable when you look around the corner at wall B without the fog. Hmmmmm.
I took a few more comparison looks from the second wall and the fogged wall and my gut reaction was YUCK! So before I did any more of the walls, I walked up to the ski resort offices and asked the big cheese to come on down and take a peek before I proceed. He walked in immediately noticing wall B located straight in front of him, which had not been fogged, and said he liked it. Then he turned to his left and saw wall A with the fog layer and just blurted out, “I hate it!” He much preferred the other walls and so did I. Yay.
That meant I had to remove as much of the layer of paint making up the fog as soon as possible. I spent the next half hour scrubbing with sponges and towels and was able to lift off about half the gray. Repainting the dulled areas I changed some of the color scheme as I proceeded. The most noticeable color changes were to add more green tints to the faraway tree line on the horizon. It was a couple hours of fine-tuning to get the vibrancy back so all three walls were friends again. Here is how wall A looks after the re-do was done.
These kinds of things happen, but I am getting better at trusting my instincts and questioning whenever I get a feeling things are not right. I never assume that I know better than my customer, making an effort to always listen to what they want. At least I didn’t go ahead with what I thought they wanted and do the whole project and have to do it all over after they let me know. Re-do’s aren’t much fun so if I can limit it to a lesser quantity I am a lot happier.
My thoughts were on tree shapes and how the weather affects perspective values as I drove up the mountain. Distant trees almost disappear into the softness as we travelled the road through some pretty thick fog this morning. As a result of the poor visibility, we had to go real slow until we got about half way up the hill and then we broke through the fog layer. Surprise! Brilliant sun greeted us, with everything sparkling and lightly frosted, which was absolutely gorgeous. We pulled into the resort and unloaded tools.
Sometimes, it is hard to figure out what to start with. When that happens I start on the first thing I see. This morning that was, sketching the first tree in simple impressionistic shapes then adding a cast a shadow. Quickly placing the rest of the trees on the wall gives me a good idea of how this will be looking.
Check Out Real Trees
When in doubt take a look at reference material. Taking a coffee break we walk outside and take a peek at a real trees on the hill before we paint any further. It is always really neat to look at the real colors of nature. The chill was noticeable and another layer of heavy fog was drifting down from above, making everything real quiet. Here is the view from the bottom of chair one where Max and I admire the hill. Winter is on the way!
Using a mixture of natural colors along with primaries, I continue to fill-out tree bodies. Colors used include burnt sienna, umber, white, and mixtures of the primaries of yellow, red and blue. I quickly add little cast shadows on the snow from the tree trunk bases, and almost instantly don’t like it. When I step back I realize that I am also not getting the depth that I want yet. Everything looks as though they are at about the same “depth of field” (the same distance away from me) so I need to do something different.
Perspective in the Trees
Starting in again working on the tree perspectives using greys and white much more boldly. Immediately we begin to see remarkable results. There is a real distance accomplished by adding greys. It is astonishing to me, how this change in value really makes the tree take a step back in space. As I add more greys I am being careful to reserve enough dark forest green shadows in each tree. I want to feel as though I can reach into the branches and touch a trunk. Using a lot more white on other groups of trees gives an occasional “frosty the snowman” surprise tree in the mix.
Are you a sharp eyed individual?
You may have noticed missing cast shadows on the foreground. The shadow lines just seemed too busy and not to serve any purpose. Thank goodness I am using wall paint latex, so I can eradicate errors easily. By the way, artist’s are allowed to change their minds.
One of the most entrancing parts about skiing is the ski lift ride back up the hill. After putting some real effort out speeding through whatever terrain you are doing, you quickly slip into the lift entry gate to catch your breath. Taking your seat you experience take-off into the tree heights-observing pristine quiet mountain views as you float over and through the treetops. It is a real meditation time with soft breezes and nature to the max. Some of the the most peaceful and extravagantly beautiful skies and mountain scenes I have ever seen were from my seat on a ski lift.
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Sun Thru Snowy Trees L804 $95 (self-framed)
21.75″w x 27.75″h x .75″t oils on board. Oil on board painting of the illumination by sun rays through forest trees on a ski slope as you take the lift up for another ride down the mountain.