Branden’s Yard: #1

My friend Branden lives out near Amish country – I guess you could say IN Amish country, since horses and buggies regularly drive past his house.

A few weeks ago, I went to his house, and sat in his back yard and tried to paint it. That painting was a pretty royal failure, but it was a helpful study.

When I finished painting I took a photo and once again was very surprised by the difference between my perception of the scene, and the image recorded by the photograph.

The perspective in my mind is much more vertical than the perspective recorded by the camera. I need to learn how to flatten out the perspective in my drawings before I start to paint.

A few days later, I tried to paint this again, and again wasn’t successful at all.

Again the perspective was far too vertical. Though I think the value structure was better, and there’s more sense of depth. The painting is massively overworked. Bleargh…

So today I tried again. Again – it was a failure. This time I tried to paint the tree that I was sitting under. I should have planned the composition better to accommodate the tree – it very much feels like an afterthought, but by the time I painted it I was thoroughly disappointed with the painting and figured I would try something new.

On the positive side, I’m really happy with the sky. To paint that, I painted a flat graded wash of Cerulean and UM Blue fading to white at the horizon. Then, I lifted some clouds and let it dry. Once it dried, I sprayed the whole sky thoroughly with water, and then dropped in UM Blue and Indie Blue in a few spots. In places where the paper wasn’t wet, I got nice crisp edges. In other places, I got really nice wispy lost edges. The effect is really nice, and I think it will be my new go-to method for painting skies.

I think I would now like to stop painting full scenes and photos for a bit. Instead, I’ll paint very very simple landscapes – just sky and grass. I am confident in my recipe for skies, so this way I hope to develop a similarly successful recipe for grass. Then, I’ll move on to trees. Then buildings etc. I’ll try to paint simple landscapes adding one element at a time, only once I’m confident in my ability to paint an element every time. Hopefully that will make it easier for me to create pieces I’m proud of, because I won’t be experimenting and learning about so many different elements at the same time.

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