Here’s the next to last one for the year. I had bigger plans for 199 & 200 but ran out of time and had to fall back to a barn I had started back in November. I had the base down and painted the rest of it today. Actually it was kind of fun to circle back around to this guy after so many of the paintings from the beach.
I wanted to try and do 162 just like I had done before. It’s close but not quite the same. The barn is a little wonky. This canvas was totally covered in yellow ochre before starting so any space that would normally be white is golden. Gives it a nice warmth.
I was trying to do what I had done in 162 but this one did not feel as good. After looking at them together I think it might be the extra trees that made 162 better. The weight is all wrong if there is just the single tree so this one may be the last like this. Also, I only painted the dark areas and there were huge chunks of white. Next time I think I am going to add a tone to the whole thing so it’s all covered before I start.
For 162 I decided to use a slightly different approach. This time I painted the whole thing in Burnt Umber, let it dry and then came back on top with the color. I wanted to make the underpainting super loose and then only put a small amount of color on as needed. So if you look in the trees you can see all that funkiness but it still feels tight. This one is probably one of my favorites for the year and it was really rewarding to make some progress after working at these. I loved the process too and plan on trying that again.
I was trying to split the difference here between 159 and 160 color-wise. The tones feel better but the painting technique felt a little lifeless. It was good though – it made me stop and re-think how I was doing it. The one think I like on this one is the light on the fenceposts. That was tricky and feels good.
After No. 159 I really wanted to work on my colors, focus on the tree and see what happened. I have this little William Foster book I bought nearly 18 years by William Palluth about painting in oils. I never liked the stuff in there but he had some very specific info about mixing colors for landscapes.
I had always flipped through that book but this time I sat down, read it and used his mixes. I’m not sure this is exactly what I was looking for but it was really fascinating. Mixing paint is like cooking and he was using recipes I was not familiar with. So it was great to try that out.
The first color version of these is a start. The colors felt way too primary or out of the tube. The tree is a mess and you would think, after nearly 20 trees, that would be the one thing I got right. It’s still a start though and you have to get a base. Clouds are sort of nice.
The last two were so sketched and tight that I wanted to let loose a little bit and give it more feeling. I also decided that the entire top-left area (sky) was so square and blank that it needed some action. So I curved the hills in the background and added some clouds.
This one is very similar to No. 156 but I tweaked the cropping a little. The barn felt too far away so I pulled it in a bit. Trying to pin down what I want in there before moving to the color versions.
The second one is obviously a lot tighter. I wanted to see what was there if I made it super tight. Sketched it first and then painted it only using Burnt Umber. I’ve decided to paint the first few of these in the sepia tone to work out some of the kinks with the values before tackling the color.