Proko Challenge: Landscape Thumbnails #2

This is the second post about the Proko Landscape Thumbnails challenge. The challenge was to submit five landscape paintings, each 2 inches wide by 2 inches tall.

I started this painting off wanting to paint trees in the distance using wet-in-wet. I tend to do this often, but in my mind, there is this technique that should work, that I haven’t been able to figure out yet. I think I’m going to dedicate some time to figuring it out. My idea is: paint a line of thick pigment at the horizon. Then, paint clean water across the sky, and just tap it into the line of pigment in a few places. The thick pigment should wick up into the sky via osmosis, and give the impression of trees. In my mind, this would look different from the trees that I get when I just paint a grey blob onto wet paper. That gives me the effect of trees in the distance, and helps create a lot of mood, but it provides essentially zero texture. What I’m after is something between that, and the effect you get when you add salt to a wet wash.

The first five thumbnails are me trying to achieve that, and failing. I almost got something like what I’m after with the cauliflower in the sixth thumbnail, but ultimately it was just making mud. So, I gave up halfway through the sixth thumbnail.

Then, I imagined a painting of hillsides – like the ones I see on the side of the highway as I drive down to the Jesse Owens State Park camp grounds in the summer. I wanted to ignore the foreground, and just render the hillsides, because I thought that might make an interesting composition. These ended up feeling too flat – like someone had cut two sheets of paper, and held them up in front of each other. There was really no depth at all, and I decided that I needed a foreground afterall.

In the first six versions I tried different colors in the sky. I tend to really like my skies in paintings, and so I thought maybe I could make one where the sky was a big focal point. But, ultimately the trees were too dark, and ended up taking all the focus. So, I decided just lean into it, and try to make the painting all about those trees.

Once those were finished, I painted the final version, which I am reasonably happy with.