Oil, 12X16; canvas

I liked the photo and wanted to give it a try. Wanted to keep background trees "minimal" vis a vis details.

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Nice job Tony! What a lovely view!

You did a great job with your values on this one. Your rows of trees get lighter as you go into the distance - nice job!

Now that you have the idea of value creating distance, lets talk about color and distance. When I look at your painting I see some nice vibrant - chromatic - colors in the foreground, which is perfect! As I move back the colors should get cooler - bluer and more neutral. Instead I see the trees just on the other side of the lake have become very neutral - a greyish green, but then when I move further back they have become more green again. So your value is right, they went from darker to lighter. But the color needs to make the progression as well. See what I mean?

Also, don't forget your darkest darks are in the foreground, getting lighter as they go back. As it is I don't see anything darker in the foreground than you have in the midground.

Light Source: In the photo the light is coming from the left, but fairly high in the sky. So you are seeing more sunlight on the left side of the trees, with a short cast shadow to the right. It's always important to establish that light direction. Then you can use the light and shadow to help round out your forms so they don't look so flat. And don't forget the land! Think about the hills and valleys and flats. Anything facing upward will be lighter, where there is a slope you want to think about the direction of the light again. Slopes to the left will be lighter, slopes to the right more shadowed. Same with the mountain. Don't be fooled by the all white snow in the photo. A photo will blow out the lightest value - it will lose the detail and the subtle value shifts. So when you paint you need to be aware of that and add them back in.

Color is the key here in the mountain as well. If you isolate the color of that mountain - I like to punch a hole in a piece of white cardstock or paper - you will see that the mountain is very blue. Different shades of bluish purple to bluish grey. Your mountain is a brownish tone. This makes it warmer and makes it seem closer.

Composition: You want to be careful with elements - in this case the mountain - "kissing" the edge of the canvas. It draws the eye and feels awkward. In this case I would have moved the mountain off the edge. Isn't it great how we can move mountains?!

also in terms of composition. What is your focal point? You have a large expanse of water with nothing really going on. And no real area of interest to draw the eye and reward the viewer for their visit. There isn't an obvious focal point in this scene - so you would have to create one! :) Since you have made the water more still, you could reflect the clouds in the sky into the water. You could create some more interest in the midground trees, maybe adding one in golden fall colors. A boat, a fisherman....  It comes down to what the scene meant to you, what was going on that day, maybe something visible from another view that you could add in. It's very subjective! It's your world :)

Thanks for sharing this Tony! You've done a great job. As always, my suggestions are meant to encourage you and inspire you to go further! You are doing great!

Thanks for the suggestions. The mountain 'kissing' the edge is the result of a bad photo - I'll be careful next time so you see "all". Ok, so back to the easel.


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