Thursday, October 27, 2011

trempealeau overlook #2: finishing up

there really isn't very much left to do on this painting, but at least the water is pretty important to get right. last time i did this scene , albeit in a smaller format, the water seemed to be on the same level as the figures. in reality it is about 500 feet lower down at he base of the bluff they have arduously climbed to gain this spectacular view. i am going to try to get all the breaks in the shadows as horizontal as i can, try to make sure the reflections are just a bit darker than the hills doing the reflecting, and keep my fingers crossed.

adding the "cliff"edge and reflections in the water
i started with putting a darker value wash along the cliff edge using burnt sienna, quinacridone gold, ultramarine blue, and some burnt umber and a 1" flat brush, which i used for almost all the painting in this and subsequent steps (except where i note otherwise). i flicked in some grass leaves of the same colors and also scraped in some of the same at the appropriate time. for the reflections i used either a combination of quinacridone gold and ultramarine blue or hooker's green and burnt umber/sienna carrying the thin stripes across the paper and adding some watery mix to help the blending. the distant hill reflection that is blueish i put in using cobalt blue and a touch of burnt sienna.

final steps on painting the foreground
the final steps were to give the foreground a bit of interest and texture by putting down horizontal washes of the same colors used for the water reflections, losing some of the edges, especially the bottom one, putting in some small blades of grass using a #4 round, and, of course, the ubiquitous scraping that i just can't give up. i toyed with the idea if putting a small island just in front of the center figure's head along with some trees, mostly to give the whole thing some scale, but in the end i decided against it. i think it would have had way too high a probability of looking amateurish, the value would have to be "perfect", and i didn't think it was worth the risk.

so here is the end result. overall, i think it is a better painting than the original, leaves some areas that could be improved upon, but accomplishes much of what i wanted and in the larger, full sheet format.

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