I spent some time late last week and Monday working on the painting I had sketched out in my last post. I will say before I begin, that these photos are not color corrected due to limited time, but hopefully you can still get an idea of how the painting is developing. Sketch in transparent oxide red, with some shading...
I usually lay in the sky first, but since there is so little of it in this painting, I have decided to start laying in the ground. More or less, I am working front to back.
At this point I had to step back and think about the plane trees I had sketched in on the upper right. As much as I love the plane trees, I was afraid they would be too busy in this painting, when there is already a lot going on. You might even be able to tell that I struggled with those trees from the outset, by all the transparent red oxide rubbed into that side of the canvas. I kept wiping them out and putting them back in, until finally I surrendered and took them out for good. Sometimes you just have to accept that you can't say everything you want to say in a single painting.
I still wanted something in the upper right for balance, so instead I massed in a "less interesting" tree. I also changed the skyline slightly so as not to feel so hemmed in. The sky is pretty washed out here but my sky, while very light and simple, has more color (pale golds and blues).
Up to the point pictured is about 5 or 6 hours' work. I started this late Friday afternoon and came back after dinner (and after the baby went to bed) to work on it some more. I just wanted to get it to a point where the whole canvas was brought up to the same level of "finish" (more or less) so that it would be easier for me to pick up again when I returned to the easel.
Once upon a time I was a total night owl and I'd habitually paint late into the night (this was before I started painting landscapes). I haven't done this in a really long time, and I'm not sure it's such a good thing for me. I only meant to work for a couple of hours but it was close to midnight by the time I cleaned up and I was so wound up I couldn't sleep for a while. Maybe I'll get used to it in time, but as it was, every time I'd go to clean up I'd tell myself, "just five more minutes!" Afterwards, I felt like I had had an entire pot of coffee! I kept telling myself it was time to stop, but now that I feel so often on a time crunch, any studio time is a real treat.