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George Lake Snow Dance

    • 24 posts
    March 26, 2013 9:45 PM EDT

    • 24 posts
    March 26, 2013 9:56 PM EDT

    Need help!..painted this  last weekend in blinding bright sunshine.  The light patterns in the trees and on the ice changed dramatically throughout the session. ...it was absolutely stunning and a challenge to do the light play justice.  Something about the composition is bothering me...maybe the percentage of lights to darks is not great enough to create interest?  Should the pattern of shapes have been opened up more?

    • 288 posts
    March 27, 2013 3:45 PM EDT

    Hi Sharon,

    You've rendered the rock faces, the distant hills, the sky and the water very nicely. The trees are more problematic.

    However, I think the real problem is a lack of value harmony. Your light values, your middle values and your darks take up an almost equal amount of the scene. In general, a good scene will have around 3/4 of it given over to either light, middle or dark values. One third will be one of the two value ranges other than the main value and a small amount of the remaining value used as an accent. By using the values on the canvas in this manner, you will end up with a more balanced and interesting scene.

    Did you want the scene to be brooding? The roiling dark sky and the middle value hill both speak of a bleak day, and yet the rock faces talk about sunlight. If it's sunlight breaking through clouds, you might try doing something to the sky so that we get the fact that  the sun is breaking through.

    There's also an artificiality about the way the trunks of the trees march in lock step up the hill. Even if they were actually evenly spaced and all of an equal breadth, I would vary it so it doesn't call so much attention to itself.

    My 2 cents worth. (You have to round that up to a nickel now that they've phased out the penny.)

    Keith

    www.wilsonstreetstudios.com

    • 24 posts
    March 27, 2013 8:59 PM EDT

    lol,  Thanks for validating what I suspected about the value thing and yes...those tree trunk soldiers are distracting...I could vary values within that mass to make them less important.  It was brilliant sunshine that afternoon with the clouds making some dramatic spotlight value changes.  Thank for the advise about the sky...I admit, I tried to work with some dirty brush work and lost the light.  I just received a 3x4 canvas and want to attempt my first large canvas with this piece as my reference.  I think I need to get out there and concentrate more on the skys!..and the proportions of the large canvas should give me room to do this.
     
    Keith Thirgood said:

    Hi Sharon,

    You've rendered the rock faces, the distant hills, the sky and the water very nicely. The trees are more problematic.

    However, I think the real problem is a lack of value harmony. Your light values, your middle values and your darks take up an almost equal amount of the scene. In general, a good scene will have around 3/4 of it given over to either light, middle or dark values. One third will be one of the two value ranges other than the main value and a small amount of the remaining value used as an accent. By using the values on the canvas in this manner, you will end up with a more balanced and interesting scene.

    Did you want the scene to be brooding? The roiling dark sky and the middle value hill both speak of a bleak day, and yet the rock faces talk about sunlight. If it's sunlight breaking through clouds, you might try doing something to the sky so that we get the fact that  the sun is breaking through.

    There's also an artificiality about the way the trunks of the trees march in lock step up the hill. Even if they were actually evenly spaced and all of an equal breadth, I would vary it so it doesn't call so much attention to itself.

    My 2 cents worth. (You have to round that up to a nickel now that they've phased out the penny.)

    Keith

    www.wilsonstreetstudios.com

  • April 2, 2013 10:45 AM EDT

    I think the problem is that the focus is not clear. The sky, lake and midground all take up about a third of the painting and none of them is really the focus. Where is the most interesting area of the painting for you? Try to pull the eye there. Give more space and dominance to the area that you are drawn to will help more. Arguably, the midground could be seen as your area of focus but your eye wanders back and forward horizontally without resting on any spots. One area with more detail or using the lines and transitions of the painting to point you to your focus could help a lot. 

    Did you use a viewfinder before you started your composition? Did you decide what you liked best about the scene before you started painting?

    sharon preen said:

    Need help!..painted this  last weekend in blinding bright sunshine.  The light patterns in the trees and on the ice changed dramatically throughout the session. ...it was absolutely stunning and a challenge to do the light play justice.  Something about the composition is bothering me...maybe the percentage of lights to darks is not great enough to create interest?  Should the pattern of shapes have been opened up more?

    • 24 posts
    April 2, 2013 9:57 PM EDT

    Thanks for your input...I didn't do a thumbnail and am really regretting it now.  I am going to do this after the fact, taking into consideration not just the values, but working with the shapes as well.  If I pull the left tree shape forward a bit it may make the ice surface shape a little more interesting.  The focal is the red rock.  The light was brilliant on it and in contrast, the distant LaCloche mountains where grey under the cloud shadow.  There where shifting light patterns in the trees that I could play with as well to better balance the values.  The way this winter is hanging in, maybe I will have another opportunity to scoot down to Killarney and give it another go!
     
    Jennifer Smithwell said:

    I think the problem is that the focus is not clear. The sky, lake and midground all take up about a third of the painting and none of them is really the focus. Where is the most interesting area of the painting for you? Try to pull the eye there. Give more space and dominance to the area that you are drawn to will help more. Arguably, the midground could be seen as your area of focus but your eye wanders back and forward horizontally without resting on any spots. One area with more detail or using the lines and transitions of the painting to point you to your focus could help a lot. 

    Did you use a viewfinder before you started your composition? Did you decide what you liked best about the scene before you started painting?

    sharon preen said:

    Need help!..painted this  last weekend in blinding bright sunshine.  The light patterns in the trees and on the ice changed dramatically throughout the session. ...it was absolutely stunning and a challenge to do the light play justice.  Something about the composition is bothering me...maybe the percentage of lights to darks is not great enough to create interest?  Should the pattern of shapes have been opened up more?

    • 24 posts
    April 10, 2013 7:42 PM EDT

    Home for a quick lunch today and was inspired to make the tweaks and corrections ...was almost late getting back to work!...but returned happy and more productive!  Thanks all, I am much happier and have learn't a lot for the next attempt...I will not dub this plein air now...it is now inspired by the plein air experience!

    For those who know and love George lake, please excuse my lie of the tree on the right...it was plunked in to balance the composition and may or may not have been prudent.

    To recap the "fixes", I opened up the above tree to tone down the value, varied the tree line, corrected the value of the snow, reavaluated my story and added the lights to the tree tops to show the dramatic light patterns the sun was creating (and allowed the sky to inform the landscape) and patterned the lake surface to pull the eye into my focal point....done.

    • 288 posts
    April 11, 2013 6:36 PM EDT

    Hi Sharon,

    Even though it's no longer plein air, please post your modified painting here so we can see your progress. (What you've done above is attach it, which makes it harder to see. Click the little icon in the above row, first icon to the right of LINK and add your photo that way so we can all see it.)

    Keith

    • 24 posts
    April 14, 2013 8:27 PM EDT