Here are the final images for the French landscape painting-in-progress I've posted about recently (see the progression at this link and this one.) As I mentioned before, at this stage in the game, my main "statement" has taken shape, so it is all about refining the idea. It might not be evident in the previous photos, but when I returned to the easel to finish the painting, I felt that the greens in the grass and shrubs were looking a bit too light/bright and slightly too cool for the quality of the light I was aiming for. So the first thing I did was to warm all of that up to give it more of that late evening sun-kissed feeling. Next, I worked on the shape, shadows and highlights of the foreground shrubs:
Followed by some subtle shading on the pigeonniere and refining the edges of the background shrubs:
My final decisions have to do with working out the shadows and highlights in the clouds to give them form. I was really reluctant to go back into the sky because I liked so much what was going on there and I didn't want to mess with it too much. But, given the state of the rest of the painting, I felt that it really needed some further development. So I took a page from the lessons learned from my abstract expressionist art school days. Namely, that one should not hold any single portion of a painting as "too precious" if it doesn't benefit the painting as a whole. I also have made minor alterations to the shapes of some of the clouds, and warmed up the sky at the horizon, because it was feeling a bit too cool for a sky that had so much warmth in the clouds.
Here is the final. I kept the composition simple because I really decided to push the color in this piece and make this a sky painting. Since I was working from composite images and memory rather than from life, the challenge was to make the light cohesive with the drama going on in the sky. I feel like I've gotten a pretty good representation of what I set out to achieve, so I am happy with the outcome.
"Ciel Dore" (Gilded Sky) Oil on Linen, 20x24"