Here’s a behind the scenes look at the progression of a recent painting titled Field Trees.
At left you see the initial inspiration. This is a photo that was shared by my friend, Marilyn Passmore. She’s a prairie girl at heart, and loves a great field of canola against a blue prairie sky.
I’ve seen many photos and paintings of fields of yellow canola against a strong blue prairie sky. But what really attracted me to this image was the stand of trees to the left. I also liked the green shapes threading through the field in the foreground, and the clouds in the lower part of the sky.
I printed the image to paper and started to experiment with a composition. I first folded the extra clouds in the upper part of the photo out of the way, giving the trees more prominence in comparison. That would have made a great composition.
However, I decided it would bring more emphasis to the trees to bring the bluff closer to the powerful cloud on the right and eliminate some distance between the two elements. So I folded out some of the center of the field. That would make a great composition, too.
I also really liked the reverse curl of that cloud at the horizon line and the way it turned the eye back towards the trees.
And so, I folded the image one more time to turn it into a square shape. Shazzam! Time to give it a go!
Just one more step before putting pen and brush to paper. I took the time to experiment with a few styles and to work on a plan for the darks and lights by creating four quick values thumbnail sketches.
I hope you enjoyed this peak behind the scenes at the thought process behind the outcome.
I think I just might go back and take a run at the first horizontal composition, too.
PS – If you’re interested in this painting or a print thereof, see this link to Field Trees on my fine art website.