This week I continued work on the mountain meadow commission painting I began blogging about in my last post. My approach for this piece seems to be that I am working more or less from back to front, as edges are softer farther away and come into greater focus in the foreground. The sky is painted together with the distant mountains, since there is such an interplay of clouds and mist back there. The distant trees are addressed rather uniformly at this point, as I tweak their values and placement in the composition.
Next I decide to address the darkest value in the painting, which is the focal tree, so that I can better assess the value relationships as a whole. I am not getting into the tree edges yet, as I need some of the meadow colors laid down first in order to create the soft edges of a misty morning.
Next I mass in very generally the flowers in the field. There will be a lot more color variation but I just want to get the generalized color and pattern down on the canvas first.
Soft greens of the grasses follow the blue, and merge to soften the edges further.
With the field of the meadow laid in, I can now start to give the focal tree a nicer shape, with soft lacy edges and a few subtle tree holes. I may need to tease out those holes a little further, perhaps darken them a bit, so that they aren't so "holey", but now I can see the painting really start to take shape.
The sky has gotten washed out in the photo above, but I will try to get a better shot with different lighting conditions. It's been raining and cloudy a lot lately, so I am relying on indoor lighting (which isn't all that reliable!) What comes next will be more work on that field. Both grasses and flowers are cooler and softer as they recede, and show more detail, warmth, color intensity and contrast as they come forward.