Fall Challenge

Let's start a new Challenge!


The winning photo is by Rosemary Clark - Thanks Rosemary!

This will be a fun one! I love all the color and the nice light and shadow on the building.

So lets do some painting! Some things to think about:

  • Crop, rearrange, use your artistic license!
  • Look for a nice composition. One that welcomes the viewer in and tells a story.
  • Watch your VALUES! Getting those lights and darks right comparatively is what will show that beautiful golden sunlight.
  • Light source and direction are key in this one. Look how much shadow there is in those trees

Click here for a short video on how I might rearrange this photo to paint...

I'm really looking forward to seeing these paintings!

Feel free to post progress photos, ask for help or inspiration. Just leave a comment on this page...

Once you are done with your painting,

post it as a photo and I will add it to the album

Click here to visit the Fall Challenge Paintings Album

We will paint for the month of October. Have fun!


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Comment by LizJ on November 8, 2015 at 1:53am
Managed to squeeze a little painting in, posted in the photo gallery, looking forward to popping over to the album to see all the lovely work. Great way to lend a relaxing Sunday morning .
Comment by Karen Ilari on November 1, 2015 at 10:04am

Well, what a fun challenge! Today is technically the deadline for posting - but if you are running late, don't worry! Post when you get finished!

Be sure to visit the album and comment on everyone's lovely paintings! So many variations of color, mood, composition! So fun!

Time to start thinking of our next theme! I think I'll post a discussion for theme ideas....

Comment by Elizabeth Amanda Elgin on November 1, 2015 at 8:30am

I have reworked and reworked and now I'm finished. This was quite challenging to me and still not completely happy with it, but I learned a lot.  Karen, please replace the photo I posted before which was really a WIP.

Comment by Karen Ilari on October 30, 2015 at 8:00am

No problem at all Monika!

Comment by Monika Berggren on October 30, 2015 at 3:12am

Hi Karen! It seems im late again with my Picture. I Think i need to 1/11, but i will put up my Picture then if its ok!?

MVH Monika Berggren

Comment by Ann Reed on October 23, 2015 at 1:23pm

Wow, this has been quite the challenge.  I have learned a lot from every element of the picture.  I am starting on the fence tomorrow and then will hopefully be ready to post.  I am still not sure about if the values of the house are right, but am going to go with what I have and I can repaint at a later time. 

Comment by Karen Ilari on October 19, 2015 at 11:58am

Hi Sarah!

Yes, I totally agree, it is so helpful to hear what others found challenging!

Comment by Sarah Irland on October 18, 2015 at 6:41am

Hi.  I am sorry I did not find this discussion until just now.  Some very good advice in here that hits on some of the challenges faced with this one. 

Karen - I like the way you rearranged the scene with photo shop.  I need a better photo shop program as I can see doing this would be helpful in the future.

One of the main challenges for me in this painting was that I rearranged the foreground in the painting, but then lost my reference because it was different than the photo.  I then had to spend time looking at other photos to figure out what it would look like. So - rearranging the photo first would have been helpful.

I also kept going back to the values and trying to get them right - but because I changed the foreground and wanted it to be darker to highlight the house, I did not have a good reference to use.

It is helpful to me to hear discussions of everyone's challenge as we all learn from them.  Thanks for sharing those!

Comment by Emma Hardwick on October 15, 2015 at 11:50am

Thank you, Karen..it was just an idea, just curious on my part. Sometimes my ideas pop onto the keyboard without me thinking it through..ha ha. This is my first time in a challenge, due to lack of time (we all are there) and I thought it would be fun to try. I am still learning, and your videos have helped a great deal. A big thank you for them! I hope to get back and finish my Fall challenge later today. Thanks again, this is fun. :)

Comment by Karen Ilari on October 15, 2015 at 10:27am

Hi Emma!

So the idea of these challenges is for everyone to take all the things they have learned in the videos, critiques, blogs, classes - and put them into use on their own! I've probably gone too far already showing my idea for a composition. 

The fun is in inspiring your creativity and imagination, and then seeing what we all come up with! I will most likely paint one (I'm super busy these days, so time is a bit of an issue) but I won't post until after everyone is done!

Now, don't let that stop you! Give it a try :)

Comment by Emma Hardwick on October 14, 2015 at 7:35pm

Karen: Will you do this challenge, and do a video on how you would have done it? If so, maybe post it later in the month. Thank you.

Comment by Marion on October 14, 2015 at 7:17pm
Thanks Ann, will check out video!
Comment by Ann Reed on October 14, 2015 at 5:31pm

Another value check, please. Sorry, Karen.   The house seems very extreme in value.  Is that okay?  Should the shadow be softer somehow? The green mass in the middle was troublesome so I minimized it into what is there now.  Is the little house too dark?  I will continue to work on it all as you advise.  Thanks so much.


Comment by Ann Reed on October 9, 2015 at 9:43am

Marion,  Karen has a video about this Fall Challenge photo.  If you haven't seen it, check it out.  It was so helpful.  Look on the top of this page.  

Comment by Ann Reed on October 9, 2015 at 9:27am

Thanks, Karen.  Yes I see what you are saying. It makes such a difference to see it in black and white.  Thank you for doing that.  I will work on those corrections and repost next week.  I know you must be so busy getting ready for your studio tour.  Hope it turns out great!   

Comment by Marion on October 9, 2015 at 9:13am
Wow, love the path idea, just adds so much, walks you right in. Helps a lot to see it in black and white. Thanks!
Comment by Karen Ilari on October 9, 2015 at 8:48am

Hi Ann! I love that you are doing your value block in first! Yay! This is the time to really study your values and see if you have them right. I see that you are using my recomposed version of the photo. Here are yours and the reference in black and white:

So a couple of things to notice -

You want to go as light as you can in the sunlit areas, the front of the house, the field, the sky. But you need some color there, too. That's where the challenge is in painting. So once you have chosen your lightest colors, the darker ones have to have the same value shift from the light. In other words the comparison between light, medium and dark is what you want to focus on. Not the value of each area in the photo seen separately. Does that make sense?

So check out the comparison of value between the roof in sun and in shadow. Do you see how much greater the value shift is than the way you have it? The light is Lighter and the dark is darker. Also the shift between the light and shadowed sides of the house. Same thing.

Your dark tree in the background. Do you see it is actually a bit lighter than the shadow side of the house?

As well, your green trees and bushes at the sides are much darker than they need to be.

Do you see that each tree and bush has a sunlit side that is lighter and a shadowed side that is darker? You want to show that sunlit as if affects all areas of the painting...

And don't forget - acrylics dry darker, so push your values a tad lighter!

Great start Ann!

Comment by Ann Reed on October 8, 2015 at 5:35pm

 VALUE CHECK, PLEASE  - I think I need to stop with this underpainting for a value check.  I would also appreciate someone pointing out any other things that need to be changed.  Thanks.

Comment by Elizabeth Amanda Elgin on October 5, 2015 at 8:39am

Thanks everyone. Karen, I will relook at the values.  Am also going to rethink the side of the house. Am also realizing I did not think enough ahead of time about what the painting was ABOUT. I thought "the trees" but then drew the house so big it turned out the trees became secondary in that there wasn't enough space/canvas to show properly their oversized nature. so much to learn. I might put some people in this so that the trees size is more readable. Right now my brain sees the forward tree, and isn't sure what size it is/what plane it is on, etc. Something about the perspective/size of house throws my brain off.

Comment by Ann Reed on October 4, 2015 at 8:27pm

Karen, you don't know how much I appreciate the video you did for this photo.  I was trying to figure out how to put a path through the field and move some trees, but was at a loss.  Thank you for this wonderful teaching moment.  Since I need to learn to paint from a photo, I hope you don't mind if I use your ideas. Thank you again.   

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