Jac’s 100 days of landscape

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  • #2165539
    No points.

    Day 99 13/02/22

    • I spent a couple days on a sketch from a holiday photo in Italy taken a few years back. I had avoided using it as a reference as I felt like it was too pretty, verging on the twee. But I have run out of my own reference photos, so I succumbed. Some thoughts:
      • I think the drawing was decent, a good sense of perspective.
      • During the process, I enjoyed getting to mix more neutral oranges for the path and buildings. Colour mixing generally is becoming more intuitive, even if I don’t always get it right. It’s seeing the right colour in the first place that’s tricky. The primacy of value over colour is making itself clearer to me the more I paint.
      • Compositionally, I liked the obvious layers – from the foreground garden, the middle ground house/tower, to the background hills – with the viewer beneath the canopy of iconic stone pine trees. That said, there isn’t a clear ‘line’ through the picture; no clear focal point. I think this is the primary weakness, I wasn’t sure what the motif of the picture was, so everything was given equal treatment.

    Keys of the day:

    • Utilise the decorative cast shadows of trees. Tree shadows are a tool for a strong light/dark design pattern. They can break up uniformity and monotony, and help indicate form, texture and perspective.
    • Make shadow directions consistent. When painting outdoors, stick to your chosen light/dark design – don’t chase shadows.
    • Paint Luminous Shadows. Values in the shadow are more important to luminosity than colour. More beginners go too dark (that’s me!), whereas you need higher values without breaking the light/dark hierarchy. Use very dark accents to brighten the lighter parts of the shadow.


    Practice Time: 5h

    No points.

    Day 100 14/02/22

    Fin! Well, that’s it folks. End of the road for the ‘100 days of landscape’ challenge. Here’s the final sketch.

    I returned to a photo reference I used on the very first day of the challenge (left photo) back on 18/10/2021. I remember being pretty pleased with the effort, it was undoubtedly the best thing I had painted up to that point. But when I returned to the reference photo yesterday, I couldn’t stop groaning. It’s a nice photo, but a garish scene to paint – a bit like painting a rainbow or a waterfall. But I wanted to finish where I started, so I gave it a go.

    I tried to channel Monet’s Sunset in Venice which I have seen in a local museum (and don’t much care for!). I wasn’t particularly pleased with how it turned out, there are a few clear improvements that could be made to the trees, which compositionally are questionable, and treated too monotonously.  If I were to spent more time on it I’d try treating each tree with more individuality, and perhaps working to get a clearer forest pattern into the background hills.

    That said, I had a lot of fun trying to capture the “colour corona” as describe by Gurney – the way the bright setting sun eats up the shadow edges.

    Before (left), After (right)

    Practice Time: 4h

    I’m going to tally up all the practice time and effort and do a little 100 day reflection 🙂

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by JackJack.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by JackJack.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by JackJack.
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    Jo SheridanJo Sheridan
    No points.

    Congratulations Jac, you made it!! That is such a good idea to go back to your original reference and have another go – it’s so good – even if rather painful-to go back and see what you were doing 100 days ago… You have put in mega hours of effort – enjoy adding it all up… 🙂

    No points.

    • 105 days of practice (worked a few extra due to my dodgy counting)
    • 272 hours of practice in total, about 2.6hrs of practice day
    • 15 days when I didn’t practice at all
    • Courses watched:
      • Fenske’s Introduction to Landscape Painting
      • Kearn’s Designing your Landscape Painting
      • Huston’s Creative Composition
      • Perkin’s Outdoor Landscape Painting Quick Start
      • Bobkoski’s Introduction to Still Life Painting (in progress)
      • Mirochnik’s Complete Russian Academic Drawing (in progress)
      • Fenske’s Painting Interiors in Oil (in progress)
    • Books Read:
      • Payne’s Composition of Outdoor Painting
      • Macpherson’s Landscape Painting Inside and Out
      • Macpherson’s Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light and Color
      • Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting
      • Gurney’s Light and Color
      • Cole’s Artistic Anatomy of Trees (in progress)
      • Robert’s Mastering Composition (in progress)
      • Caddell’s Keys to Landscape Painting (in progress)

    Closing Thoughts

    The best part of the challenge was the struggle to instil a daily art practice. Unquestionably, reporting the day’s progress to this forum definitely pushed me to be more disciplined. It became very important to me to do something every day, anything, really. Even the days when I couldn’t practice, I always made time for some reading or to watch an instructional video. A day isn’t complete without some type of learning. Regardless of one’s progress, the discipline alone justifies taking on the challenge.

    Speaking of progress. I spent more time than I expected during the 100 days not doing landscapes. It was a bad time of year for plein air painting  and I lost faith that painting from reference photos was a good way to learn. So I quickly adopted the stance that it was better to do a drawing of a cast, or a painting of a still life, than to avoid practising art because it didn’t fit the constraints of ‘100 days of landscapes’. One of the challenges of being a student is riding the wave of enthusiasm to learn, whilst being aware if it is carrying you too far away from your goals.

    Some good stuff and lessons learned…

    • Staying motivated was the key to daily practice. For me, that meant tracking my practice time, photographing sketches to share, writing these “me, me, me” forum posts,  taping practice pieces to my walls, and consuming art as well as producing it. If all else fails, I could usually overcome lethargy by putting on a good podcast/audiobook and committing to just starting to work.
    • It’s all about the process. Yes, producing something satisfying is always desirable – but enjoying the struggle of learning is key, so find a practice you look forward to doing.
    • Saturated green is the enemy of landscapes. Always look for colour variety and interest, avoid using green when you can.
    • I’d buy studio lights sooner. I didn’t realise how dark my room was until I bought half decent lights – it made an immediate difference to my art.
    • Master studies are a great way to learn and should have made more copies earlier, then take those learnings into my own practice. I picked up this combo late in the 100 days, but it definitely improved my painting. You can’t help but naturally try some of the techniques you pick up from copying someone else.
    • I’d have broadened the goal. I don’t think doing 100 days on one subject matter in one medium is a good idea, not for a beginner at least. I think it’s better to have a long-term goal, but allow for more flexible short-term steps how to get there. I often felt I was cheating anytime my practice wasn’t landscape oriented, which is counterproductive.
    • I probably should have experimented sooner – tried different sized canvases, landscapes in different styles, etc.
    • All the books I read above were brilliant. The most useful were Payne, Macpherson, Carlson, and Caddell. Writing down key lessons helped me remember them for future reference.
    • Of all the courses on NMA, Kearn’s Designing Your Landscape Painting was probably the most useful, albeit least structured. It was definitely the most entertaining, he’s a real character. Fenske’s is more suitable for beginners. Neither really deal with colour.

    I think that’s enough waffling from me. I think I’ll take a day or two before starting up the next challenge.

Viewing 4 posts - 121 through 124 (of 124 total)

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