I wanted to try this painting again focused solely on the value structure, and composition. I figured, paint it purple, then there’s no way in hell I can start working in other colors to add variables to the lesson.
So here it is – in purple.
One thing I see right away is that the value structure doesn’t lead the eye at all. That’s what I don’t like about it. The cliffs in the foreground need to be darker, or lighter, but in their entirety. The way it is now, those cliffs have the same value contrasts as the river, and the train – so there is nowhere for the eye to go. This painting should be about depth, and without value contrast, it’s flat.
I’m going to go back to this one, and just darken the hell out of the cliffs. I want to see what happens then.
I also learned that the snow needs some shadow, otherwise it looks flat. The shadow should be on the top of the snow, since it is theoretically coming from the trees above.
I didn’t even try to pretend to paint trees in the distance, instead just trying to suggest texture with some brush strokes. This worked.
The snow-bank hill on the left looked really good when I added just a slight shadow at the top to separate it from the hills behind. I liked it so much, I tried to achieve the same thing on the hills in the background, which destroyed the value contrast for that tiny shadow- so I had to darken it… and well. Watercolor is a cat and I started petting it too much. I should have left it alone.
The masking fluid on the branches and cliffs in the foreground didn’t work at all. But, masking the bridge and supports did make them appear more dimensional after I painted the dark lines. I will try that again.
So… meh. I guess I’ll try one more at least – I’m starting to think this picture might be a bad one for me. I might need to improve more before I can do it justice.