Diary Of A Painting

Tree In Canola Field-100-wEver wonder how a painting moves from inspiration to finished work?

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the progression of a recent painting titled Field Trees.

I worked on this in a recent Watercolor Mark Making class instructed by Anne McElroy and sponsored by Hues Art Supplies.

Canola&Trees-Marilyn Pass-FB-w4inchesAt 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.

Tree Canola Fold 1-100-4inchesI 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.

Tree Canola Fold 2-100However, 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.

Tree Canola Fold 3-100However, the more I looked at it, the more I was drawn to the strong ‘L’ shape of the trees coming down from the left and into the field to the right.

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.

Values Thumbnails-100-w-4I chose thumbnails one and four to guide the painting. And, as you saw at the start, and see again below, the rest is history!

Tree In Canola Field-100-w

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.

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Artwork, Nature

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