Suzi Hike:#5

This is the fifth and final painting in a series that I did for my friend Suzi Lantz who commissioned these paintings for her 100 X leadership summit in Canton.

This painting is the most technical out of the five. Really trying to focus on the distant hills this time in the past paintings those hills were all just fields of one color. Here I tried to paint trees on those hills in order to contribute to the illusion of perspective.

I really like the trees on the distant hills, but I’m not a big fan of the green trees in the middle ground. I wish I had softened the edges some more because all of that detail flattens the background.

I really like the way the grass came out in the foreground, and I like the rocks in the foreground is well. This time I did knife the edges in order to get the highlights that I wanted. The hikers I’m not as crazy about. The lead hiker I like, unfortunately the hiker in the background appears to be falling over. Oops.

When I was done with the hikers, I went in with some white in order to bring them a bit forward. That really helped because if you look closely you can tell of the value structure in the hikers is almost identical to the value structure in the grass. Those little white lines really helped to pull the hikers forward. Unfortunately I thought using white to make a sleep sack or a rucksack on the top of the nearest hiker’s backpack was a good idea – but it just jooks like massive shoulder pads, and makes the hiker’s head feel huge.

I should mention, regarding the dark trees in the foreground. I didn’t have these in my value study, or in any of my other paintings – but I felt this painting starting to feel flat. I thought of adding those trees, but I wasn’t sure, and didn’t know how to see what they would do to the overall composition without painting them in. I ended up taking a photograph of the painting and used the mark up tools on my phone to sketch out a dark field on the bottom right to see what it might look like. This really did help because I could see the general change to value structure and the way it would impact the perspective of the painting. By making edits on my phone like that, I was able to mark up some changes to the painting in a nondestructive manner, before I actually put the brush on the paper. This is something I’ll use more often.

I used the markup tools on my iPhone to mock-up the near trees before adding them to the composition.

Overall I like this painting. I prefer this over the others in many ways, and I prefer #2 over this in some ways. I appreciate the technical difficulty of this one, but feel like #2 is more successful at achieving the overall goal that Suzi had.

So… there you have it. A series of five similar paintings for my good friend Suzi Lantz.


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