Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snowcamp

Here is the view of the White Mountains we painted today at snowcamp. It was pretty cold, I believe it was about 10 below zero when we set up in the morning and I am not sure it got above zero all day. But we had fun, some of us went inside to warm up briefly but everybody was out all day. It turned out to be an equipment test, as usual. If you had the right equipment you were fine, if not you needed to go in and warm up now and then.

Some of the paintings looked real good and a lot of people were surprised that they could do it. They will have a heroic story to tell when they get home. At the end of the day we had dinner around an enormous round table and told painting stories and a few ghost stories.

Does this hat look good on me? Notice the ice on my mustache. Notice also please, the nice stonework behind me. Just to the right of my shoulder you can see the tool marks on the granite. This stuff was cut by hand . You can see the tool marks in the picture below too. You might notice also the real divided light 19th or early 20th century window in this one. I know, its a Yankee thing. But we like old stuff here.

There's a look of determination. Its 50 degrees colder outside than in your refrigerator.

Here I am doing a demo painting. I had a great time today. I really love painting snow. I think several others in the workshop got the same thrill. Winter is the best time to paint outside!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just a quick post tonight. Here is a painting I made in Cornish New Hampshire a week or two ago. The top picture here is my transparent lay in. I worked on it for perhaps four hours on location and ended up with this.

Sometimes I work on a piece in the studio a little bit and it is finished, but other times I extensively rework them. This is an example of that. Almost everything visible on the finished painting was done in the studio with the outdoor painting serving as an armature.

I added the road because the foreground seemed empty and I wanted a stronger lead in. I decided I didn't like the Trees on the right pushed against the frame so I invented a much smaller one and moved it towards the center more. All I wanted was to stop the viewers eye from sliding out over there. I worked up the snow to get more definition and some color and bright lit planes in there . I worked up the trees and barns making them brighter and a lot more defined. I downplayed that big white pine in the center of the painting as it seemed too assertive and I worked up the barns because I thought they needed to be more detailed and interesting.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Transparent branches against the sky

One of the readers asked me if I would write about painting branches against the sky. That is one of the things that landscape painters often do. It is one of those effects that really can look good in paint. I am going to show you examples of that by several artists. Some of these I had to enlarge so much they are a little blurry, but I am hoping you will still see what I mean.

This is the English master John Constable. The whole thing is painted transparently and with enormous delicacy. While these are not bare branches against the sky, I think they work the same way. The important thing to notice is how low the contrast is between the leaves and the sky. They are only about 10% different from one another. The tendency of people learning to do this is to make them about 40% different, and they look too heavy.

Here is John Carlson doing the same thing in opaque paint. Incidentally the dark branches are what make this effect work. If you don't put in both the transparent twigs and a dark branch the effect will generally not work. The twigs look airy by comparison to the sky, AND the dark branches. That sounds obvious, but it took me a long time to figure it out.

This is one of mine. I have painted the twigs with an enormous brush. The bigger a brush you use to do this the better (like most passages). It also generally needs to be done over a wet background and in one go. If you fuss with it very much it will fail. Then you need to scrape it off with your palette knife and try it again. Notice to the left the sky holes opening to show the forking branches I discussed last night.

Here is an Aldro Hibbard, There are several trees against the sky here. And each one is different. Notice the nice dragged paint over on the middle right hand edge. He pulls that loaded brush over the paint below in such a way as to leave paint on the ridges of the layer below, but not pushing the stroke down onto the surface.

Above is a slightly blurry Jervis McEntee. I included it because it shows another nice trick. He has indicated the little leaves that haven't yet been blown from the branches. I like to throw a few of them in too. Since they are opaque they heighten the look of transparency in the branches.


Here is a Jervis McEntee from the Athenaeum.org I have made it clickable to a pretty large image so you can look at the nice handling in those branches.Go look at it, it is pretty cool. This is one of my favorite paintings in the world. I had it as my desktop for a long time.

Here is another passage by McEntee. Again he has thrown those little leaves in there. He hasn't used the dragged paint method, that really became popular a generation later, but he does have very thin transparent branches puled over the shy that do about the same thing
Painting branches like this is a practice thing, if you work at it you will be able to do it. But it is a convention to some extent. Seldom will you be able to copy a photo to get it. You will have to install it or paint it from nature. It is an ephemeral thing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More tree behavior

Now there is a great set of trees. They have come here tonight to make a couple of points. The first is to illustrate something from a post I wrote several weeks ago. I spoke about branching habits and how each specie of tree has a particular angle at which it likes to throw its branches. There are a number of places in the trees above, that show this nicely. Several of them can be found at the 1 and 2 o'clock position.

The thing I wanted to point out tonight is this. Trees in groups don't grow the same way as trees alone. The whole architecture of a tree results from its striving to put its leaves efficiently into the light. As you can see looking at this example there are two major pairs of trunks. Each of these have thrown their limbs up and away from the other pair. It is almost as if by agreement they have said to one another, you take that side, I 'll take this side. There are almost no branches on the inside between the two trees. Those branches that did grow in there, found themselves shaded out and quickly withered. A tree won't support a branch that doesn't produce.

Something else worth noticing here is that the largest sky holes are gathered about the middle of the tree, often showing off those forks of which I spoke earlier. Look for the two to occur together and utilize that to show the structure of the tree. The sky holes tend to decrease in size as they move further from the center of the foliage.

I would like you to notice one other thing here also.

Look at the fork of this tree near the arrow. There is more tree above the fork than below. You would think, given the general rule of continual taper, that would never happen. But it is common. You have to watch for that. Putting it in will make the tree seem more natural. There is no substitute for observation. It is good to know the anatomy of trees but in the end that will only let you know what to look for, and what it is when you see it.

First you draw what you know, then you learn to draw what you see, finally you learn to see what you know

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Color and light in different parts of a tree.

Here is another tree with a lesson inscribed on it. Look at the body, or the middle of the foliage. On the left it is that deep green and on the right it is a still darker more violet green. The leaves themselves are of course really the same color. They are different colors and values because of the different sorts of light hitting them. The very green leaves over on the left hand side are being illuminated by reflected light. That is coming from the brightly lit field.

The leaves to their right are in the core shadow. They are the least illuminated part of the tree and receive little light. There are branches sticking out into the light in the middle of the tree, these are receiving light from the sky above, as the tree is somewhat top lit. Top light is usually going to happen in the middle of the day and is generally the least desirable working light in the landscape incidentally. These top light areas are high in value and they are influenced by the color of the sky reflecting in them, particularly in their high lights. The reflected lights are where the leaves act almost as little mirrors positioned in such a way as to turn the sun light and send it directly at you. Highlights in particular tend to be tinged with the reflected color of the sky.

The top of the tree is in the light and is influenced by the color of the light. The more a passage reflects the nature of the light, the brighter it will appear. That is, as the object is increasingly illuminated, the local color and value of the object will decrease and the color of the light and its value will replace them. Although it is not apparent in this photo it is often useful to introduce a reflected sky color as the tree turns over on its top. That is where the planes of the tree are no longer on the side, and facing you, but on the top and facing the sky. Cooling the top of a tree like that will make it "go over", that is, it will seem to round as its form turns up and out of our sight on its way to the other side of the tree. (gee, I hope that made sense).

Often the trunk will be full of reflected light from the ground. This is important because it ties the tree into the same world as the ground. This small percentage of shared color keeps the tree and the ground in the same tonal equation. If there is no common or ambient tonality in a painting it can become a mosaic of unrelated color. And you don't want that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"V"s in trees

Asher B. Durand, drawing courtesy of artrenewal.org. Here is a a post I wrote about Durand. In the incisive drawings above you can see a phenomenon I would like to draw your attention to this evening, that of inward facing "V" shapes around the limbs of trees.
Here is our trusty field tree again with some lines drawn on it,

What I am talkng about is negative shapes. You know about those. They are the parts of the universe that remain after what you are drawing has been removed. They are very important in getting the parts of a drawing correct. There is lots to be said about them too. But tonight I will confine myself to pointing out their role in drawing trees.

These "V"s are the opposite, and the result of, the forking of the branches as they leave the trunk and then subdivide continually on their way to the light. The positive shape is a fork, the negative shape is a "V". Arrange those "V"s right, and you will have half of the job of defining the limbs of a tree done. I like to move back and forth between drawing the positive and negative forms when drawing trees.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Perspective in the masses of trees

image from artrenewal.org, the fabulous online museum and incomparable free resource for artists, art lovers, and historians check it out here.

Above is a Ruisdael that looks like some of the tree photos I have been showing. Here is a landscape painter showing his love for trees. I think there is something very inviting about this picture. I too would like to walk up that road, take the left and visit the little cottage behind the tree. There is a contemporary painter who also paints little cottages. Notice the elegance and restraint of this painting from the mid 1600's. Different trees have different characteristics, like people. Some are strong and enduring and some are lithe and graceful. Just as if you were painting a portrait you need to ask yourself, what is it that makes this tree, THIS TREE?

It is important also to observe the different proportions of one part of the tree as compared to others, a common mistake is to exaggerate the stem, or trunk of the tree. Perhaps because it is at our eye level that we are so obsessed with it, Someone once said the trunk of a tree is about the same size relative to the rest of a tree as the stem is to an apple. While this is not always true, it does point out the great variation from the ordinary unobserved representation of a tree seen in the wall paper borders in restaurant bathrooms.

Look at the altered photo below, I want to show you something else.

With those rudely drawn boxes, I hope to illustrate something else. That tree is not a flat shape, it is a three dimensional object perspected in space. Its forms are subject to the same vanishing points as everything else in the landscape.

One of the ideas of perspective is that everything above your eye level will have perspecting lines that run downwards. So look for those, and show you know em. They are not very obvious but look for their influence. That will get the foliage and body of the tree up into the air, and over your head where it belongs. Unless you observe the perspective indicated by those boxes you will have a straight on view of the entire tree.You look at the lower part of a tree, and up at the higher parts, at least until it is some distance from you. I have seen a lot of landscapes where the top of the tree is seen from the same straight on point of view as its trunk. I have made a few of those myself.

Snowcamp one is filled and I have only two more slots left in Snowcamp W, if you still want to come, click here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Design problems in the placement of trees

There are some common errors in placing a tree on a canvas in an outdoor painting. Usually these are wrong. I try never to say always, but................. Above is a scene with a tree that is placed well on the canvas. Below the tree ends right at the rabbet, that's the edge of the frame and not a freakish Englishwoman's misbegotten issue. It is seldom a good idea to jam a tree or anything else up against the top of a painting.

If you do have to chop the top of a tree of to make a painting do it boldly, like this. It is best to end the top of a tree well short of the frame or run boldly past it, like the example below.

Below is another problem child.

This tree "stands" on the frame. That looks artificial too. This happens because what might look like enough of a gap between the base of the tree and the bottom of the canvas, might not be enough when placed into a frame. The frame will cover up to a quarter of an inch at the bottom of the picture .

It is easy for these errors to happen because the trees are so large and the canvas is small. As you paint them you keep unconsciously making them bigger and they assume a size larger than that you intended. It sometimes works to draw a line at their top and resolve you will not enlarge them past that line.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mary Toft

Born in 1701 Mary Toft, an illiterate peasant, in the presence of a doctor gave birth to several parts of small animals including rabbits, cats and the spine of an eel. As this bizarre news spread, a personal physician to George the 1st was sent to investigate and in his presence Mary gave birth to several rabbits which did not live.

The newspapers of the day made the case a national sensation. There was at the time a theory called "maternal impression", which held that a woman might become fixated on a pet or animal and it might influence the appearance of her offspring. Moved to Guilford by her doctors, Mary was again able to bear several more rabbits. A number of prominent physicians weighed in as convinced by what they had witnessed and stated that Mary was indeed giving birth to rabbits, cats feet and the occasional hogs bladder.

Above is an engraving by the great William Hogarth showing various parties who were associated with the controversy and Mary herself producing a seemingly endless stream of rabbits. All of England was fascinated by the story.
It was soon discovered that Mary had been surreptitiously purchasing rabbits and, well, hiding them internally, in order to produce them for the waiting physicians. Toft confessed, claiming that she had been taught by a "traveling" woman to effect this illusion and hoped for notoriety and financial gain. She was charged as a vile cheat and impostor. She and a male midwife, a possible co-conspirator, were tried and fined 800 pounds.

Any number of ribald poems and satirical writings appeared at the time and a number of the doctors who had been fooled by the production of the unnatural offspring had their careers deservedly ruined. Alexander Pope and Voltaire, among others wrote about the affair. Voltaire drew from it the conclusion that the English were ignorant and still under the influence of medieval superstition. Pope wrote famously;

Most true it is, I dare to say,
E'er since the Days of Eve,
The weakest Woman sometimes may
The wisest Man deceive.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another leaden picture transmogrified

Here we are again in Leadville, with the same pewter colored image. For the last several days I have been running variations on this image, pretending it was a painting that failed because it was too gray. I want to again add the disclaimer that there are many lovely gray day pictures and often gray day paintings are just fine. But sometimes they look like they were painted by dead people. When I get one of those I will often try to rework it in the studio and see what happens. Sometimes get lucky. I do this for a living so I often will give it a shot. My paintings are expensive so if I get one or two a year doing this it is certainly worth my time, and I like doing it. It is an exercise in creativity.

Below is tonight's variation. I have kept only the drawing, to which I have added my own color and light. It is helpful to have another painting from a sunny day nearby when you do that.

Above is a concocted scene using the elements in the painting but only the drawing. I have done a lot of winter painting so I have an idea how the light tends to hit things, and what colors tend to occur. Of course I am actually doing this in photoshop which for me is clumsy and not in oil paint.

But I think you get the idea. You should work to have the ability to fake your way through paintings like this. You will find it useful, because you will have to do it to passages in just about every painting you make. Very seldom is a scene so perfect that you can just copy it and call it art. Faking all of a painting will prepare you for faking your way through sections of a painting.

I wrote another Ask Stape column for Fine Arts Views which you can see by clicking here. Soon I will return to the tree thing, I do have more I want to say.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another variation on a gray painting

Here again is the shot of the barn from yesterday in all its leaden splendor. Another tactic I use on these paintings which prove too gray is to turn them into twilight or tonalist sunset pictures.

This is generally something I do in the studio when the picture has dried for at least a couple of days. That's important for a couple of reasons . One, I want to have some perspective on what the pictures problems really are, if I did it too soon I might radically change a piece without really deciding if just a little tweak might make it OK. Two, I want the piece to be absolutely dry, so that if I do mess up, I can wipe back to my original painting with a rag dipped in thinner. If the painting is at all wet that is not possible. It also helps that I work with an alkyd medium ( more about those here ) because when my paintings dry, the mineral spirits won't lift the paint if I wipe it back, at least not very much.

Here is the same scene reworked as a tonalist sunset. I have said before that when I work in photoshop I feel like I am working in Gummi worms. But you see what I mean anyway. I am showing you these not because you will want to do exactly this to a gray day painting (get your own shtick!) but because I want you to get the idea that even paintings with a problem will sometimes yield to some creative alterations. If the painting is too gray or whatever, you might as well fool around with it, what have you got to lose. You might get lucky, and end up with something really nice.

There are still a few places left in the second workshop. Here is a view of the Inn where we will be doing it. If you still want to go you can sign up here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some notes on transforming a gray day image

Here is a picture of a barn that was behind me when I painted the picture I showed you yesterday. I was thinking as I looked at it that Willard Metcalf might have seen it too. It is old enough to have been present in his day about a hundred years ago. It is also in the general Cornish area. The fences in front of the barn are a good illustration of the paper doll idea I put at you the other day. What I mean by that is that in a snow scape the snow is like a big sheet of white paper and everything else can be imagined in front of it like a string of paper dolls cut out of black paper. The barn and the trees are silhouetted in front of the snow. Below is a version of this I have photoshopped a little to give you the idea of how I might have brightened it up. There is nothing wrong with gray day paintings but some times, and I think this is one of those times, it is nice to shoot a little light in there. This painting with its gray barn and sky just felt too gray.

I didn't really alter it very much but here's what I did. I would do about the same thing in paint. I ran some blue into the sky, that got rid of a big swath of gray and then I ran a few transparent streaky clouds across that. I also removed a wire there in the process. Then I threw that same blue onto the snow that was flat on the ground that might reflect the sky note.

I added some yellow and white highlit areas into the snow, where planes were turned towards a source of light that I invented coming into the painting from the left. I only used a little bit of this because I didn't want to relight the whole barn. So I am representing a watery sort of light. The lights, I made warm.

I picked up the saturation of the color around the house and the barn. Again I am trying to lose some of the grayness. Had this been a painting this is one of the ways I might have handled it in the studio, but not the only one. I don't mean to say that the response to every gray day picture is to make it into a sunny one. But sometimes it works. Tomorrow, I will put a different spin on it.
..............................Stape

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Forgot to title this one

One of you asked me if I would show the painting that was on the easel in the last post. I am not happy with it and expect it will get worked on in the studio. But I will show you this picture from the last trip. It too will see some studio work, as is my practice. I might show that process for one of those. I paint everything outside, but it is what I do to them in the studio that makes them really work. Here is the initial lay in for that.

What I have done here is to let the white of the panel represent the snow and sky and wash in everything else (the paperdolls I spoke about last night), transparently. Again, as long as I keep the painting transparent I can shove it around as much as I like. I then cut back into it with the snow, which containing a lot of white is very opaque. Notice how much I cut in the snow in the foreground. The lay in is true, my later version is edited.This was a REAL gray day so there are no shadows on the snow and everything is a little flat. I will probably enliven it in the studio some.

One of my friends e-mailed me and suggested that I was wrong to recommend wearing cotton in the cold. They recommended only synthetics or silk and wool. They also spoke glowingly of underarmor. A little research on my part found that the current recommendation from the woodsy types is against cotton. Evidently the new synthetics wick moisture away from your body more effectively. So I recommend you lean towards the synthetics, I guess. I have been perfectly comfortable out there for 35 years in outfits that included cotton and am fond of L.L. Bean chamois cloth shirts. However If you are getting cold, that sounds like a good thing to know. I have a really serious parka and snow pants. I often have only the parka on over a shirt and am fine till below zero when I add a wool sweater. I do think that some of the synthetics, like my horribly ugly orange hat are great though.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A little more about snow painting

I have posted this shot to let you see that their is no paint on my back, none. Well, there isn't very much anyway. Below is something that might interest you, those of you who read this blog know that Aldro Hibbard is a hero of mine. Below is pictured his paint box, which I have. It doesn't look like much and is certainly heavily used. It has a leather strap handle and little hooks to hold it closed. Other than that it is not too much different than a box you might buy today. I have looked in it very closely to see if there is any magic left inside. There didn't seem to be.

I will return to the tree painting theme again soon, but I wanted to take a break and mix things up.

I also wanted to throw out a couple of suggestions on snow painting.
  • Snow isn't white, learn to work with mixtures of another color that just slightly tints your white. Lay those mixtures over one another to get opalescence.
  • Imagine a string of those interconnected paper dolls that are cut out with a scissors from black construction paper and laid on to a white ground. That's how things work in a snowscape. The sky and the snow are the white background and everything else is a dark silhouetted in front of it.
  • Generally you will want to keep your lights warm and your shadows cool. This is most true on a sunny day.
  • Look for the structure in the snow and try to explain it. It is not just all one value. You will need to seize on the changes of the planes in the snow and exaggerate them to get them to read.
  • Don't divide the amount of snow and the amount of darks in half, let one be the dominant. Since it is a snowscape, usually that should be the snow.
  • Sometimes it works well to have the sky darker than the snow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Here I am working in Cornish New Hampshire where Metcalf worked a hundred years before. This is going to be a very short post this evening. Sometimes I get to the blog so late that I am exhausted. I do make a point of posting every day so sometimes I have to do a truncated post. I try even then, to get one useful idea out. Here is tonight's, in response to a commenter who asked how I keep my white from becoming stiff when working outdoors.

The first thing I do is bring my paintbox into a motel room when I am traveling. I don't leave it in the car overnight.When I travel to the location I keep it in a heated part of the car, such as the backseat. That means when I show up on location it is still warm. I make a donut of white in the middle of my palette and then pour a shot of medium into the middle. I whip that up with my palette knife. That will usually keep it usable. However the paint does often behave differently in the cold. I rather like the way it handles sometimes.

I also use the Lefranc titanium which is a more oily and free brushing sort of paint and I think it is better in the cold than some other brands. But I have never had to quit painting outside because my white froze up, just put some more medium into it and whip it up until it is workable.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Materials and clothes for a winter workshop or painting trip

Here are the materials you will need for my workshop. Most of you are not in my workshop of course. It would be huge if you were. We would need about five Greyhound buses. But look at the materials list here and you can get an idea of what I think you should have, at a minimum, to paint on location.

Because it is winter painting you will need to have good boots, I recommend these.



Cabela's® Trans-Alaska™ III Pac Boot

Every other part of your clothing needs for cold weather painting is negotiable, this works and that works. However when it comes to footwear I think most of what the average person thinks of as adequate gear won't cut it. Boots that might be OK for shoveling the walk or taking a winter hike will not allow you to stand in snow or on ice for hour after hour without getting cold feet. You have to keep your feet warm.

Here are the sort of boots I recommend for painting outside in the winter. There are a lot of different winter boots available but I think these are the ticket. Cabelas is a reasonably priced gear merchandiser mainly aimed at the hunters, rather than extreme sports, elitest gear freaks.
I think a woman could probably find boots of this sort there also.

If you can keep your feet warm standing out painting everything else is relatively easy. There are lots of good parkas and hats, snow pants and suits etc. But it doesn't seem to me that there are many boots that are as serious as these. I have lent mine to other guys who then bought them the next day. If you are worried about getting cold painting, buy these boots and everything else is just a matter adding layers of clothing. But if your boots don't cut it you can't add another pair.

Here is a link to the page on Cabelas site where you can find them.
Many of you will decide the boots you already have are fine, and they might be, come to the workshop in them and we will see. But if you absolutely want to have warm feet, heres what you need.

You will need a warm parka of the ski sort or a snowmobile suit. You can by a one piece outdoor work suit at Wal-Mart very inexpensively that seem to be fine. Under that I recomed a wool sweater or poly fleece shirt over a cotton shirt. I wear insulated snow pants made for snowboarders but there are lots of sorts of snowpants made for snowmobilers and other winter sports, under that polar weight long underwear, Cabelas is good for this.I wear inexpensive thinsulate lined gloves that you can buy at a Wal-Mart or hardware store cheaply. I have a hat with a brim over which I pull a stocking cap when it is very cold. There is no reason for you to be cold painting outside. It is simply a matter of getting the equipment right.

You will need a a french easel, a pochade ( pronounced "pochade") box and tripod, or a Gloucester easel. Aluminum collapsing easels and little wooden tripod easels are generally not steady enough and they won't hold your palette. I don't recommend them.

PAINTING IS HARD ENOUGH WITH THE BEST OF MATERIALS!

In your paintbox you will need:

Titanium White
cadmium yellow medium or light
cadmium red light
burnt sienna
either cobalt, Prussian, or pthalocyanine blue
yellow ochre
ultramarine blue
Permanent alizirin or quinacridone red
viridian or permanent green deep

you also might want, but won't require,

Ivory black or
cobalt violet

a palette of some sort, most easel setups include a palette.

a medium. I like Liquin or Galkyd but if you like an oil and varnish medium that is fine too. You may already be using a medium at home, bring that. Also you will need a top from an olive jar or a small oil cup to put it in.

mineral spirits or turpentine, and a tuna fish can to put that in.

A roll of Bounty or Viva paper towels, all others are inferior. Also a grocery store plastic bag for them after use.

A selection of flat brushes, a couple of #1's, several #4's, a #8 or 10 and a short handled rigger, synthetic or sable, about a #4 . Also a leaf shaped palette knife.

You will need a hat with a substantial brim, a baseball hat works well. I carry a container of Goop, you can get that at Wall Mart or an auto supply store, to use cleaning your hands.

A fine cigar or two, possibly a maduro, box pressed if possible, no White Owls or plastic mouthpieces please.

Several canvases, or panels to paint on. Please no cardboard artist boards they are floppy and impermanent dreadful things. Gessoboard is nice, sourcetek panels are good, clayboard is too absorbent. I think a 16 x 20 is the ideal size. Small canvases bring an added complexity to painting as you need to miniaturize nature to go on them. Don't bring anything larger than an 18 x 24 unless you are a pro.

Some people like to have an umbrella to shade their canvas, I don't use one, but you might.

A camera, you will want to get a shot of what you are painting because it may save the project later in the studio.

I guess that's it, I will see you at 9:00 in the morning in the lobby of the Inn. I will probably go up the night before so as to be ready to rock and roll first thing in the morning. If you are coming from the south of Boston be advised that traffic northbound from Boston going up 93 on a Friday night,to the White mountains can be heavy. If you can go up early in the day, before about 2:00 and you can avoid it. It is not impossible in the early evening but less fun. Also driving up in the dark you will miss seeing a lot of the mountains. The Inn is above Franconia which is the first town past Franconia notch on the far less touristed siude of the mountaians. You will pass Cannon Mountain ski area and go down the hill beyond it to get to Franconia which is an exit off of 93. The highway is virtually always open.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Foliage in light and some kittens

Here's that same tree again. I will try to post some kittens too, just to enliven things, but this tree has the qualities I need for this series and it is patient. I wrote for a few days on sky holes and now I want to move on to the parts of the foliage which are in the light. They are clearly defined in the picture above. Do you remember our illuminated sphere from long ago in the blog? Here is a link to that, if you have not seen it, here it is.
Some one asked in the posts about the tree as ball lesson, I guess we are getting as close to that now as we will.
This is important,

EVERY BIT OF THE TREE WHICH IS IN THE LIGHT IS BRIGHTER (HIGHER IN VALUE) THAN ANY PART OF THE TREE IN THE SHADOW.

There's another variation on the rule I explained in the bedbug line post I linked to above. If you obey that rule you will have the effect of light on the tree, if not you will have the effect of soil on the tree. Below is a picture of a tree in flat light. The lights are not clearly brighter than the shadows so, no light. I know you hate rules, perhaps we could call it a principle.

Ideally the light and darks on a tree should be two big shapes with one predominating. In other words an equal amount of light and shade will make your painting static and dull. OK, here are the nice kittens I promised.

Izzy and Toast