Saturday, August 27, 2016

From a photograph to a painting

Several weeks ago one of my friends posted a photograph which spoke to me and inspired me for a painting. It had a special end-of-the-day feeling (Oh, I love sunsets so much!)

Photography by Olga Pasikova
What I liked about this picture was:
1) the landscape;
2) the evening light;
3) the atmospheric feeling;
4) the tree (which looks like it's dancing).

First thing I wanted to change was the size of the image - instead of square I chose portrait layout (14"x11"). The reason for that is to improve composition (which I still had to correct later while painting).

Also, I wanted to paint the sky with fewer clouds to show the blue colors of the evening sky and half-transparent evening moon (shown below). I always start with the sky as it serves me as a background; then I paint everything else: trees in the background, a house, road curve...
 Next, the "dancing tree": I started with the trunk and branches carefully choosing the colors to show the sun lit parts and shadows.
 Covering the tree with leaves I kept in mind that I wanted the sky to be visible through the leaves. For sunlit leaves I used Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue and Light Yellow.

 Once I was able to see how the layout of the leafage, I painted the moon. I also decided to make the house roof red which didn't satisfy me at all. I saw a problem with the composition: the roof was aligned with the tops of the trees making a one boring line. And no matter what color the house is, there still would be feeling that something is wrong with the painting. 
 So I decided to break that horizontal line by turning and changing the house completely. I also added some puddles on the road to connect the blue sky to the green foreground. It still did not satisfy me and I put off the painting for several days...


Every time I passed by the painting I was thinking about what to do to bring harmony to the visual image. I liked the tree, sky, the moon, just the awkward house would not sync in.
So I decided to paint not a house but an old weathered barn to stress the feeling of the coming to an end day. As for the composition, I painted the barn and the a small structure in the shadow on the side as well as a wood wheel to create a diagonal line crossing the horizontal and vertical ones which made the painting look more interesting. And here is the final result - "Lost in time" (acrylic on board; 14"x11")

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