Painting Demo Part II

I begin to block in some of the color here, laying in the foreground so that I can gauge the values and temperature of the rest of the color. I want to emphasize these wonderful olive trees and the sloping hill. The olive trees are so distinctive in the Tuscan countryside. At different distances and in different light they take on shades of green, silver, and even blue/violet. But back to the painting; the ground is too dark. The light from the sky is shining directly on the places that are not in shadow from the trees, so I will try to bring out some more highlights as I progress with the painting.

Here I am giving a little more form to the foreground trees, and I lay down the color for where I will show some of the bare land. All of the ground is still too dark in my opinion, but I begin to lighten it up a little.   



Blocking in more of the painting, the distance is starting to take shape. I lay in very cool colors in the far distance, using blues and cool greens. In general warm colors come forward and cool colors recede, so I will start with relatively cooler, lighter colors in the distance and stronger, warmer colors as the eye moves forward in the painting. I still use slightly darker blues, (ultramarine, plus a dab of cad red light and white/ or ultramarine plus a dab each of cad. orange and alizarin crimson and white) even in the middle ground, as I can always add more local color later. I've also lightened up the ochre ground colors throughout the painting, which I think looks better and more convincing.

I start to feel more comfortable once the canvas is covered with paint and there aren't any unaddressed areas. Even if the value or color isn't quite right, it helps me to "see" the painting better if I can have everything more or less laid out. I have now indicated the buildings, more of the distant trees, and have added detail to the olive trees in the foreground, including giving them some more shadow areas. As I have worked in more color, you can see I've painted out some of the tree trunks and branches that were indicated before, so I will have to restate them again at some point.

As you can see, this is very much a push and pull exercise for me. Some artists start with the distance and work forward, and I used to try and do that too, but I always tend to want to lay in some of the foreground so that I can better determine what the distance will need.