I went into excruciating detail about my proposed process for recreating this painting by Michal Jasiewicz in the previous post. Today, I’ll explain how I took the lessons I learned from that exercise to try the painting a few more times, and experiment with different options.
This was my first attempt. A few things I learned here:
1. The colors are much more saturated in the source image. My attempt here is muddier, which I attribute to using too much burnt umber in the blues, and not enough red in the yellows. So for my next attempt, I’ll try to saturate the colors more.
2. The cliffs were much muddier than the source photo, so I need to revisit my techniques there. I think I need to keep the blue/grey further from the golden orange highlights.
3. The sun doesn’t feel as blaring white in my image, which I attribute to the sky wash, I didn’t try to blot the sun at all, and as I built up the layers of the image I didn’t focus enough on preserving the whites there.
4. The snow on top of the fence isn’t contrasting enough with the snow. I need the snow to be just a smidge darker. Too dark, and it won’t look like snow. Too light, and the snow on the fence gets lost.
5. The tree is massively off weight. It is leaning far to the right, but nothing is countering that weight to make it feel balanced. I still want it to lean a bit, because I like the gestural quality of the tree by Jasiewicz, but this version is too much.
This version does a better job with the Golden highlight on the hills, but they are too ragged on the right.
Again, the sun glare is not bright enough. I tried to keep that spot clean as I painted by washing it clean, but this didn’t really work. I think I’ll try masking fluid.
The fence is wayyyyy too low.
The tree is still too desaturated. It doesn’t command the focus as much as the source photo. This is something I’ll try to fix by relying on even more saturated blues, and I’ll add a smidge of perinone orange to the yellow ochre for the next attempt.
The sky is maybe too light. I usually end up with skies that are too dark, so maybe this is right? It is definitely lighter than the sky in the source painting, so I’ll try to deepen it a smidge on the next one.
He snow on the fence is still not bright enough compared to the distant snow – again, I think masking fluid will help.
In this version I tried to use masking fluid. This preserved the highlights that I wanted, but that sun is too crisply defined. I’ll need to keep the paper more clean around the sun in the next attempt.
The snow on the fence is working now, so I feel confident in the masking fluid approach in that regard.
The sky is too dark maybe… not sure.
The gesture of the tree is better, but it feels very over worked. I started by painting the orange, but I think next time I’ll try to start with the grey instead, no idea if that will help.
Ohhh ok. Yeah, the sun glare really reads well here. I masked it off again, but this time I was careful the wash the paper around it as I painted to ensure I kept the paper clean, but didn’t get a crisp edge. Cleaning the hills was important here. Before I wasn’t trying to let the sun glare bleach out the distant hills, but it in this version I tried to ensure the hills were burned out by the sun light, which is the right move. The sun spot in mine is much larger than the source photo, so I should maybe dial it back a bit.
The foreground snow it way too pink.
The distant hills aren’t dark enough.
The tree is too light.
My tree is too smooth, the tree in the source painting feels much more ragged.
One thing to note: I am left handed, so the first painting is in the bottom right, the second is above it. Number three is in the bottom left, and number for is in the upper left.
I’m happy with my attempts to recreate the source painting. I haven’t achieved the same quality that Michal Jasiewicz did, but I’m trying to compete against me, not him.
Next, I’ll try this same painting on a quarter sheet, and we’ll see how that goes.
Well… I think it’s clear I’m not Michal Jasiewicz. But, I’m happy with the results.
I think I rendered the sun glare pretty well. And I’m reasonably happy with the fact that I didn’t succumb to the temptation to overwork the distant trees too much.
I like the shadows in the foreground, but wish I had been more careful about the perspective of the lines.
I pushed the fence up higher than in any of the previous images, and this was a good choice.
The shadow of the tree is much too thick.
The fence is good, but I went overboard on making sure the rails crossed one another. I should have let them line up more neatly in a few places so they would look more organic. They are too uniform here.
The Golden color is too dirty, it should be warmer.
I’m pleased with the results here, primarily because I think I was able to learn from the trial and error in the early attempts, and incorporated the good, and avoided most of the mistakes. It’s not anywhere near perfect, but my goal isn’t to be as good as Michal Jasiewicz, my goal is to be better than I was yesterday, and I accomplished that.
For the sake of comparison, here they are together:
I emailed Michal Jasiewicz to make sure he didn’t object to me posting about his painting. And he replied!! (Yeah, he’s bilingual too…)
Anyway, here’s what he said:
“Thanks for letting me know.
Not a problem at all.
This is quite old, 1/4 sheet painting and as far as I remember, I used ultramarine and burnt sienna for mountains and darks, some deep yellow cadmium for light’s effects and cerulean (or mix with lavender) for foreground shadows. No masking there.
Congratulations to you for patience and a very analytic approach to this.