Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Trying to work out landscapes.  I am learning:

Vary your greens or you have dull paintings.

Wait for your wet-in-wet to dry before going in darker with other colors.

Don't put on color and take off color and put on color and take off color.

Work in dabs of colors - lots of colors - don't think green, think variety.

The foreground should be darker than the background.  Don't fiddle with the background stuff because you think it "doesn't look right."

Less is more.

I really consider this learning and trying to incorporate things as I go.  I don't like this - liked it better in the first version before I started messing with the background to get it "just right." 

But I'll keep trying. 

In the photo I used - yes, beat me with a wet noodle, I'm using a photograph and not outside in the 90F heat right now - the sky was stormy and powerful.  I didn't capture that - I was too wimpy with the darks in the sky so it doesn't have the look that drew me to the photo = a no no according to the book I'm working through by Catherine Gill.  She says you choose your WHAT = your Center of Interest; then you decide what drew you to the scene in the first place and try to capture that essence/feeling.  I didn't succeed here. 

But it's just my first baby steps so I'll be falling down a lot - hope you can stand these attempts until I come up with something decent!

Baby steps reminds me of the movie, What About Bob (Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss).  Remember how Bob had to work through "baby steps, baby steps" until he could do things his shrink couldn't and wouldn't do?  Do you remember the fish in a glass holder around his neck? ha ha  Loved that movie!


Mike said...

Stay with it and don't give up, Rhonda! You have what it takes! Just plug away. Don't worry too much about any one painting. Reach for the effects you want . . .in the end, you will look back at paintings like this one and see it for what it is, rather than what it was supposed to be. You are doing terrific stuff!

Gretchen Bjornson ART said...

I've encountered issues related with all of your are so right! Landscapes are a challenge for me as well, but I have improved since my first. My skys are much more dynamic because I've realized less is more.

I do like your first painting as well. Keep going with more!

William Cook said...

So much wonderful stuff going on here, Rhonda. I really like both versions but noticed that the beautiful green brush strokes going up into the sky have become superstructure for the big trees in the second. And while all the spontaneity in the first is lost, the second is way better as it ripened into a recognizable scene. Not bad at all for a first shot. I agree the sky needs some attention, but not much.

Nick said...

I think landscapes should be easy, you can do pretty much what you want.I like your crow and madonna piece too, definitely out of the ordinary.
Dr. Leo Marvin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dee Doyle said...

Love your narrative, Rhonda! And I feel your pain! Love the top image ... Loose, and an air of expectation about what's next.

I was reading some "dos and don'ts" in Arne Westerman's book last night, and he basically said to throw most rules out, and do what feels right!

Catherine Gill does beautiful stuff and I have used some of her guidelines, but find that my heart isn't in it.

Got ot see the moive again and look at it in the context of baby steps!

Love your stuff!

RH Carpenter said...

Mike, you are so generous with your comments!! I'm very pleased you took the time to stop by and comment on my efforts.

Gretchen, I think there are landscape painters and there are those who try to paint landscapes (I'm in the latter bunch!) ha ha

Thanks Bill. You, too, are so encouraging :)

Nick, maybe they should be easy - but, for me, they are not. Perhaps its the picture in my head that holds me back - or maybe just all those darned greens! ha ha Thanks, friend, for the comment - ah, I knew you'd love that movie (it appeals to the quirky in us all, doesn't it?) Was talking about you the other day - hope your ears were not burning :)

Thanks, Dee, it helps to realize you're in a learning curve with every new thing and not be too hard - but I have to admit, I need a few rules (it's the first born sister in me that says, "well this is how it's supposed to be" ha ha)

laura said...

Landscapes seem more and more difficult to me, but you are approaching in an admirable way: as an opportunity to learn!
You are right: it's all in the greens!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Did not realise you don't do landscapes - well until now. With the knowledge you have with your crow series and many other excellent works, I'm sure you'll be happy with your results very quickly. Why bother with rules - its the only way of making your own technique and therefore artwork unique. Go for it girl - but one thing I will agree: creating varying greens can be a pain. Terre verte helps to make natural green.

Irina said...

Interesting, that you can read the rules thousand times with no effect. But one day you just starting to feel them "under your skin". What this time duration depends on, I do not know.
One more rule: when painting trees think as if they are still-life's apples in the terms of shadows (light, mid-shadow, deep shadow, reflex). Then your trees will not be flat. My theory does not befriend my practice))

Bobbi Price said...

Rhonda, I really like this one. It reminds me of a spring day in the country. Thanks for all the tips, great advice.

Jan Yates, SCA, Canada said...

i so admire your honesty in sharing your learning process--you have gumption girl! a true artist!

I know what you mean re greens-have been challenged by them myself lately and the combinations are endless-landscape seems to be side by side complimentaries-cool green/warm green--just a suggestion that helps me-on my walks i pick leaves and grass and bring them in the studio-then i try mixing colours to match

I really really like your previous painting with the figure and crow-quite riveting with endless meaning/metaphor-

Caroline said...

Great to see the watercolour here in progress. I think it is looking great and the shades of green are very nice too. Keep going and enjoy your painting.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Laura. We all struggle with something and it can seem like going back to beginner's status sometimes but I'm determined to at least get competent with this at some point!

Joan, I've done a few landscapes but so few that I just say I don't do them :) Oh, I hate Terre Verte - it's so grainy! Maybe that's just in watercolor, though.

Thanks for those tips, Irina!

Thanks, Bobbie, Jan (another good tip about bringing leaves in and studying them), and Caroline (you are the master of landscapes but what you said: enjoy your painting - is the main thing, isn't it?) A bit of work but enough enjoyment to keep motivated!

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Looks like you're getting a good education :) It's such a challenge to put the paint down and move on. Fiddle is my middle name :) I think you've got a great sense of greens. I do agree with looking at the shapes of colors versus putting a name to what your painting. That really helps a lot.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Pam. I thought Johnson was your middle name? ha ha You're so good with your watercolor journaling and sketching - especially your moonscapes :) I will take all the advice given and then some. Going through the book and making myself do the value studies and work will help, I'm sure. Some day I can say, "Who's afraid of green? Not me!"

jane minter said...

looks like you are doing ok rhonda ! you're post made me laugh with all the rules ! ...i've got alot to get to grips with too ... lamp black/paynes grey / mars black + yellow makes a great green :)

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Jane. I don't usually think of blacks and yellows for greens but I know that works (as evidenced by my Tombow black pen and yellow wash). Yes, lots of rules. I feel like I should try to learn them, then I can break the ones I don't like! ha ha