Monday, October 11, 2010

A charming scene from the Old Country, dissected

Above is a picture sent to me for a crit via e-mail. Below is my photoshopped version.

  • The painting had a problem called "one for each eye", the two Churches gave it dueling focal points. I moved one over to the left of the other and grouped them so they would read together as one unit. Moving one of the churches also rebalanced the painting in a more interesting and less symmetrical way. I know it is no longer accurate to the actual place, but this is art not a postcard.
  • I worked on eliminating the repetitive stripeyness that was a problem across the middle of the painting. To do that I cut down on the number of trees and arranged them into groups rather than a band from left to right across the picture plane. I varied their sizes and shapes some. The negative spaces between the trees formed repeating saw toothed shapes or pyramids. I got rid of that.
  • I got more variety into the shapes of the groves behind the white trees.
  • I made the roof lines a little more varied. I also rearranged the light on the distant hill to lead the viewer down into the town area.
  • I varied the borders of the road to make it more "organic" I also threw some little accents across the foreground to suggest detail and plane changes amongst the grasses.
  • I glazed a gray-red over the top of the sky to make it less flat.

Announcing Snowcamp 2 which will be held February 5th, 6th and 7th. The first workshop is filled and I will run a second. Go here to sign up. Class size is limited to ten only, this is a small intense workshop at a beautiful inn located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire


Unknown said...

very instructive. I can't imagine how you even had the energy to do this after the week you had "doing the trip". I was playing the "Stape tape" in my head today while out painting.. things about light and shadow, edges, planes, etc... it helped me to simplify a rather complicated canyon view.
wish I could go to snow camp. :-(

Erik van Elven said...

Very instructive indeed. Thanks for taking the time to do these.

s thompson said...

Thank you soooooooo much for your blog. You are most generous in sharing your vast artistic knowledge and experiences. I am very happy that a friend recently put me on to your website. It is the first thing I go to nearly every day and I have spent way too many hours on it. But I hope I have learned and will be able to apply it to my painting. Thank you, merci, gracias etc!

Judy P. said...

So very instructive indeed! This blog makes great use of my morning coffee time. I'm learning, I can tell, but when will it all start flowing out of my hand to the paintbrush!

Woodward Simons said...

Excellent Stape! I imagine this took some time to do. Learned a lot - especially with the two tower problem.

billspaintingmn said...

Well Stape, moving that tower surprized me!
When you come up over a hill and see a town on the horizon, especially a small town,(many here in Minnesota) you come to recognize the landmarks.
to move something that drastickly would have the villagers protesting with pitchforks & tourches!
Sure if all we want is a pleseant painting, but I would think that some accuracy should, or would have
priority over pleseantry. Besides
two churches next door to eachother? I can see one on every corner, but two? Holy communion!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Wish you were going to snowcamp.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

s. Thompson
Thank you too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gee, I am getting thanked a lot today.

Stapleton Kearns said...

woodward Simmons;
Those two towers were a distraction.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't care about that!I would move the eifel tower to Nebraska if it helped my design.

Carol Horzempa said...

Hi Stapelton, I have Photohop and would like to know how to change elements in my paintings before reworking the actual painting. It would be great if you had a step-by-step lesson on how to do this.

I like what you did to change this painting but if the artist wanted to keep the familiar skyline of the village the same, couldn't you let one of the church steeples fad a bit into the background? You could soften the edges of one and put brighter colors and harder edges on the other. Just a thought...

By the way, I have really been enjoying your blog and learn a lot here!