home › Forums › Challenges & Activities › 100 Day Art Challenge › Jac’s 100 days of skies and trees
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July 21, 2022 at 2:32 am #2560214
Day 11 20/07/2022
- I spent another hour on the cadaver head – quite slow going.
- Then I worked for another couple hours on the outdoor painting from a few days ago. Most of the time was spent trying to add distance and transparency to the background trees to make the main tree dominate more. I applied a glaze of transparent red oxide to the main tree as a bit of an experiment to see if I can warm it up a bit – I don’t have many other warm transparent pigments.
- I actually really like how the tree turned out, as well the couple smaller trees just to the left of it. The foreground and sky let it down a bit; I tried to work the foreground into lines of drying grass, ready for baling… didn’t quite pan out. I also have no idea what’s going on with those bales of haylage. I was tempted to just paint over them, and still might do!
Practice Time: 3hJuly 22, 2022 at 10:47 am #2561467
Day 12 21/07/2022
Not too much time for art today, struggling to sleep and finding myself tired. Excuses aside, I did manage to take the cadaver head as far as I wanted. Its finish is a bit rough, but I was losing interest.
I also continued to read John Constables Skies, mostly about rainbows, and watched a few lessons of Oil Painting Atelier.
Practice Time: 2hJuly 23, 2022 at 1:25 pm #2562576
Day 13 22/07/2022
Unfortunately I’m still struggling to sleep, so I didn’t feel very well today. I only managed to make a brief start on a master study of Dupre’s The Old Oak.
There are a few design devices that I started to notice – the ‘counterchange’ in value of the branches set against the sky, with light branches being set against patches of dark sky and vice versa. Also, How the dark circle of value cast by the trees bending foliage provides a little vingette within the picture.
I’ll continue to work on the master study in the coming days.
Practice Time: 1.5h
Day 14 23/07/2022
Well, I’ve spent most of the day in bed or moping round feeling sorry for myself. Still incredibly fatigued. It just goes to show you how important your health is in staying productive.
I decided to do a bit more of a ‘theory’ day. I finished off the still life lesson in Oil Painting Atelier. I watched the lesson the clavicle from Russian Drawing Course, and completed one of the assignments (below). Really challenging. I’ll do a few more as Iliya suggests before moving on, but I’m not really absorbing the anatomical names of things – so I’ll need to work on that.
I also read a fair bit, here are some notes:
Elements of Landscape Notes
- Consider the temperature and which way blues/yellows lean when mixing green. Green mixtures with ultramarine blue, for instance, will likely be desaturated as the blue leans towards red – which is the complementary of green.
- Viridian is not so useful a colour, apparently – except used with black or raw umber for conifer colours.
- “foliage is just a combination of abstract patterns and symbol recognition that characterize each type of tree”
- The texture of foliage will be determined largely by the edges – use a medium firm sharp brush, a loose viscosity to make marks easily but not too soupy.
- Paint trees dark-to-light. In the shadows, look for cool blue-violet greens. Avoid white in the light side as it cools and dulls colour.
- Foliage can be suggested using different strokes: dappled sideway strokes (deciduous trees), leafy teardrops, hanging teardrops (willows), pointy glove stroke (oak, maple), needle stars (firs), shaggy fringe (cedar)Stapleton’s Blog
- Softening edges helps bring a painting together – amateurs usually use far too many hard edges.
- Edges are relative too, by softening all your edges you realise when some are too hard.
- Hard edges look authoritative and precise, even when they’re not. They can trick you.
- Better to soften all edges, then selectively harden a few – that vice versa.
- To represent hazy transparent foliage over the sky, brush the foliage into the wet sky to create a soft edge. Alter the colour of the foliage mixture with some of the sky (decreasing saturation and value contrast).
- Soft edges recede. Remember this for oceans, mountains, etc.
- Dynamic paintings contain a variety of edges
Practice Time: 2h
A disappointing few days of low energy, hopefully be back fighting fit soon.July 24, 2022 at 1:00 pm #2567142
Day 15 24/07/2022
Managed to sleep some last night and felt much better today, even though I managed less practice than I’d like for a weekend.
- I spent 1.5 hrs working on a scapula and foreshortened clavicle for the Russian Drawing course. I’ll do a few more before moving on to the next lesson. I got started on another sternum/clavicle, but will save that for tomorrow.
- I worked an hour on the master study, noticing more about what makes it such a great piece. I’ve started with thin washes, but it’s clear the painting was painted in thick layers.
- I particularly liked the placement of the light peach colour of sunlight behind the background tree and how this colour echoes the colours in the foreground. Look at a close-up of Dupre’s work and the effect of thick layers dry brushed over a thin wash (or, at least that’s what I think is going on); especially how this contrasts with the thin delicate detail of the branches or background tree. Brushes look quite scratchy too… bristle I assume? I’m going to give some of this a try on my study.
Right now mine looks like this, far less impressive ha!
More from Stapleton’s Blog:
- Edges are a matter of expression, not transcription.
- Edges can be ‘deweighted’ to lessen their visual impact.
- Adding visual emphasis can be had many ways, including by texture – ie. loading paint in a specific area vs transparent flat tone.
- “NOTHING GOOD GETS INTO A PICTURE BY ACCIDENT.”
John Constable’s Skies
- “the sky is the source of light in nature, and governs everything” – capturing the prevailing character is more important than its accidental appearance.
Practice Time: 3hJuly 25, 2022 at 9:30 am #2568026David CarterParticipant
Great work, keep it up. I did the 100 day challenge a while back and it took me 200+ days due to moving house and so on. Well done on your dedication and skill here. I like your sky studies very much and Day 2. I think you could bring more depth into the landscapes – you’ve got it there, but it could be emphasised – obviously that’s a style/personal choice.
David.July 25, 2022 at 1:36 pm #2568728
Cheers, thanks David. I’m constantly trying to get more aerial perspective in works – will keep it in mind.
Hope to see you start another 100 day challenge soon!July 25, 2022 at 2:44 pm #2568994David CarterParticipant
For inspiration you could look at the work of Claude Lorrain or Caspar David Friedrich who perhaps both used a slightly exaggerated depth of field effect (like very pale distant mountains etc). Just pop their names into your favourite search engine and look at images… I think you will see what I mean. Your work reminds me of Constable actually and I was lucky to see a lot of his paintings up close at a recent exhibition in Ipswich. I remembered wrongly that Constable had more depth of field to his landscapes, but I was wrong when I reviewed them again just now – trees and whatnot on the distant horizon are rendered with a clarity and presence which is absent from Lorrain’s work for example. As I said it’s a style thing – on misty days one has this pale effect at a distance due to haze, but not all days are hazy. I’m sure Lorrain and Friedrich were using this regularly to their own effects.
July 26, 2022 at 8:02 am #2572837
- This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by David Carter.
Day 16 25/07/2022
- It always feels good to get some practice in before the day job starts at 9am. The day feels more productive knowing you’ve already banked an hour or two. It would really help me progress if I could make this a regular habit. For today, I managed to sneak in an hour of clavicles and some reading.
Practice Time: 3h
Elements of Landscape Notes
July 26, 2022 at 11:02 pm #2575696
- Water absorbs and takes on a duller colour of whatever it is reflecting. Notice how the wind can break the surface, causing ripples that bend to reflect other parts of the picture.
- Water reflections reduce the value contras of what it is reflecting – so shadows appear lighter, and lights darker.
- Steep banks will reveal more of reflection than a sloping one.
- To avoid rendering the ocean as a flat blue shape, deviate the detail as it recedes, and use more opaque paint in the foreground.
- You must account for the water bed when the water is shallow. Author recommends underpainting in burnt sienna, overlaid with brown-green notes.
- Brushstrokes for capturing the movement of water: ovals, zigzag, ripples, choppy peaks,
Day 17 26/07/2022
- I watched about an hour of the neck muscle demo from Russian Drawing Course, which I’ll continue to work on. I’ll probably get started on a drawing tomorrow.
- I got outside to paint after a few days of rain – admittedly, I wasn’t really feeling it. A lack of enthusiasm shows in your work, I think, but powering through has its benefits too. I continued on the ‘imprimatura’ piece I started last week, my main aim was to capture a sunny late-afternoon effect. It’s interesting because I liked the underdrawing, but found the application of colour challenging – perhaps this suggests a weakness? I introduced sap green, cad yellow deep, and burnt sienna for the first time, just experimenting with having a warmer colours on the palette. Whenever I attempt ‘warm and sunny’, colours come out too saturated.
- The plan is to fix the values down tomorrow, which are off in places, letting it dry, and then working from there. I’m keen to figure out how to add transparency to the foliage of the trees – something I just can’t seem to get.
Practice Time: 3hJuly 30, 2022 at 7:38 am #2578711
Day 18 27/07/2022
Oh dear, I hadn’t realised I had fallen so behind on keeping this thread updated. What have I been doing? Let me see.
I definitely worked for an hour on yesterday’s landscape. I’m not particularly happy with it. Above all else, it’s just a bit boring – but I’ll let it dry and see what I can do.
Practice Time: 2h 30
I also finished Elements of Landscape, some last notes:
- The author mentions not ‘rushing ahead to see the final results before each area had been carefully developed’. I think I’m guilty of this, trying to capture in one go what I’m after rather than building up in layers – especially as the work I want to produce can’t be done alla prima (or, at least, most of the work I admire of others isn’t alla prima).
- “3 E’s” of painting: editing, elaborating, and emphasizing
- A strong orange toned ground will make greys appear as blues. This is new to me, the idea that coloured grounds will make greys appear as their complementary – so a reddish tone makes greys appear green, I guess?
- Have a strategy for your palette – don’t just try and match what’s in front of you. Consider warm/cool contrasts, analogous colours, etc. Remember, too many saturated out-of-the-tube colours prevents harmony.
- Author paints from background to foreground, same as Andrew Tischler in his YouTube videos. I’ve always painted dark to light, but might give this approach a go in the future. (I sort of did for yesterday’s painting as there were few darks).
- Complete the sky and let it set before painting clouds. i.e. don’t paint wet-on-wet… interesting.
Day 19 28/07/2022
I think I spent most of this day trying to finish my master study of Dupre’s The Old Oak. I learned a fair bit in this study, but boy are they always more time consuming than I first imagine.
Practice Time 2hrs
Day 20 29/07/2022
After the master study, I focused mostly on the neck muscle assignment for Russian Drawing Course. I forgot to take a progress pictures, so I’ll just post the finished effort tomorrow.
I’ve also been reading snippets of John Constables Skies, which I really ought to finish, alongside Kearn’s blog, which continues to be very insightful.
I also picked up quite a few new books – some instructional, others art history. I’m spending too much of my time at the moment reading the news or passively watching videos on YouTube. I need to re-double my effort to stay focused on producing art, even if I’m a bit worn out from work or lacking the ‘oomph’.
Practice Time: 2hJuly 30, 2022 at 2:41 pm #2578926
Day 21 30/07/2022
- I spent a bit of time finishing off the shoulder girdle and neck.
- I then spent a bit of time on the landscape from the other day (the one I started imprimatura). It has fast turned into something of a post-mortem – trying to figure out why it’s such a dud. I’ve been experimenting pushing/pull values, altering colour, etc, but haven’t quite cracked why I dislike it. I think, fundamentally, it’s a boring composition made up of static horizontal/vertical bands. Colours are too saturated as well, I think. I’ll continue to tweak tomorrow, see if I can get some more learning out of it.
John Constables Skies
- For his sky studies, Constable painted alla prima – but for his finished works, he painted indirectly by layering.
- Indirect method involved: canvas primed with pink/brown, then a thin wash of lead white/prussian blue to make a ‘dead layer’. This was left to dry before the rest of the landscape was begun. [my note, this sounds very similar to ‘sky panels’ that is mentioned in Gurney’s book colour and light]. Constable quickened drying time with walunut oil ground with mastic resin and sugar of lead.
- Constable would likely have had multiple paintings in multiple stages going on at any one time.
- The second painting of the sky, main cloud formations were worked up using several layers of semi-opaque greys, blues, and pinks scumbled over each other to create depth. Highlights were applied in a stiffer white.
- Glazing and finishin took place only when the painting was properly dry. Part of the finishing including scumbling ultramarine (and expensive pigment then) in the bluest areas of the sky and the horizon; and vermilion over the whites of the clouds.
- This was the method prior to the ‘skying period’ in the early 1820s, after which his skies had a more realistic effect. He stopped scumbling vermilion over clouds for instance.
- Constable finished his paintings with specks of white paint applied with a palette knife, to represent the impression of dew or water on the folaige after rain, or to represent movement in trees. Here’s a close up of what I think the author means, from Constable’s Hay Wain study. You can see light pigment scumbled on in the water edge, water foliage, and background fields. Apparently this technique was heavily criticised by the critics, so he darkened or toned some of them down in the final painting.
Practice Time: 3hAugust 1, 2022 at 12:44 pm #2585790
Day 22 31/07/2022
Damn, I made a big update for yesterday with a lot of book notes. I justified counting today towards the challenge as it was all about clouds. Oh well!
I was feeling a bit listless, so I just settled into drawing a few casts – trying to get used to sanguine conte pencils.
Practice Time: 3hAugust 2, 2022 at 11:54 pm #2593335
Day 23 01/08/2022
- I painted for about an hour and a half outside before it started raining. It was an overcast afternoon, so the aim of the painting is to capture the diffused greying light effect, along with the cloud formations (which I think were stratus fractus, along with some other weird phenomena I need to look up).
- When I got home, I started on the portrait for the Russian Drawing Course.
I didn’t get much further than a simple lay in, I’ll either take it back outside if the weather is similar or just work it up from imagination at home.
Practice Time: 3h
Day 24 02/08/2022
- I worked on the portrait for the Russian Drawing Course, watching bits of the demo and then doing bits of the drawing – struggling my way round the sanguine pencil. Tired and worn out, I didn’t get much done.
work in progress
Practice Time: 1.5hAugust 5, 2022 at 9:22 am #2596156
So it’s been a bad week for practising art – I’ve started a new role at my workplace and it’s just left me exhausted at the end of the day. It’s been a struggle to do anything productive. I’m going to try and claw back some time over the weekend. It hasn’t helped that I wrote up a few posts full of notes, only for them to be deleted.
Day 25 03-4/08/2022
I essentially only did an hour of work on both days, so I’m going to chastise myself by only counting it as one day. During this time I was just pushing paint around the overcast landscape I did the other day – not the most purposeful practice.
Still a work in progress.
Practice Time: 2hAugust 5, 2022 at 11:44 pm #2596806
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