Friday, May 13, 2011

The Landscape Process

While we will be doing a number of landscape paintings during the next eight weeks, the process for each is the same.  

Do a same ratio comp of the photograph.  Block in the shapes of the large masses using only black and white.  Aim for 3 to 5 main shapes. This comp will give you an overview of what you have to work with.  There are no details or middle values in this comp.

Do a series of black and white comps using the shapes, adding, eliminating, moving, changing the aspect (horizontal versus vertical) and the ratio (1:2, 3:4, 5:6).  Use three values: light, medium and dark.  Again, use no details. This is the design phase and you have total freedom to try any possibility.

Choose the comp you feel is the most successful and, using the same canvas ratio, paint a small color comp of the painting.  Adding color adds the properties of temperature (warm and cool) and chroma (bright and dull). You will find that adding color will affect your design.  Chroma may change the balance.  Colors become cooler and lighter as they recede (aerial perspective).  This may change the balance.  The color comp is an opportunity to try things out.  Maybe you want to change the key or the contrast.  Try several comps.

Not every landscape that you take through the design process may end up as a studio painting.  Take many designs through the black and white comp and color comp stages.  The very best become the basis for a studio landscape painting.

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