Sunday, 25 April 2010

First Plein Air of the year

Much as I love painting in the outdoors, since returning from our travels I've not been up to standing at the easel in the cold as the old back has been playing up so getting out in the last couple of days has been fun. Yesterday I headed up to the entrance to the Martindale Valley in the Lakes and stopped at a point with a view back along the lake.

As I remarked in an earlier post, getting a start again after a while away doesn't make it easy and this piece suffers from a lack of confidence and hurrying back for lunch before making the adjustments that it requires. So for better or worse here it is. It would be good if you feel able to point to ways to improve this.

Ullswater - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"

10 comments:

Caroline said...

I think you have made a confident start. The sky is very nice and the fore ground rock stands out well to the front of the painting. Cooling down in colour tones the distant hills will improve the perspective. I look forward to seeing the next stage Mike.

Peter Ward said...

Apart from the large foreground rock feature Mick, the other mountains back to front all have similar colour and values. Lighten the distant mountains using bluish shades and gradually darken the others as they move forward. I'm not an oil painter but that's what I'd do with a watercolour

Mick Carney said...

Caroline - I agree, cooling down is what is required with the distant hills. I also need to create some differentiation of tone in the id ground.

Peter - Thanks, the similarity in value is an issue that needs addressing. At the moment the various layers merge because of the similar values.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
I agree with Caroline and Peter on the distance handling. I think the rocks need some more work. Maybe some use of a knife to lay in some sharp edges that are very defined. I'm not the pro with rocks so take that for what it's worth. I'd plug away some more on this if only to learn more on handling a scene like this. Too many times we get caught up trying to make each painting a finished work instead of useing some as learning tools. You've got the passion Mick and that's 90 percent of the battle.

Mick Carney said...

Ron - Thanks for the advice. I'm in two minds as to how to progress this, work on this small plein air piece or use it to inform a larger work. Your suggestion of continuing to work on this just might be the key to getting a better painting out of it. Thanks a lot.

rob ijbema said...

yes you've got a fore and middle ground but no distance
remember mick you have to over do it to create distance (3d) on a 2d surface
go for broke!

Mick Carney said...

Rob - Thanks for stopping by. It's going to take me a session or two to get my head around all of the things I need to remember, they haven't become second nature as yet. If I repeat this then I'll certainly take your advice.

Bill Cramer said...

Lot of good suggestions here already. My only other thoughts concern the composition. The top of the cliff runs about parallel to the hill behind and the foreground grass is parallel the bottom of the picture. I try to avoid stuff like this. Also, I'm not sure if it's the lake or the rocks you're interested in here. Hill, lake and cliff are all about the same size. Plus, you've kinda split the canvas in half. Man, am I being critical! But only because I struggle with this sh*t, too, when it shows up in my work. I'm a lot harder on myself!

You might try moving things around to suit the composition more - you are the master of the universe when painting! Did you sketch it out first? If it were me, I'd sketch it out a few times at home or in the field and then do another. Sketching it out beforehand is a little like the carpenters old lesson, "Measure twice, cut once." Cheers, Bill

Mick Carney said...

Bill - as always sound advice. It was done in the field and as yet I haven't got my head together well enough to pose myself all of the necessary questions to pull it off. Yours is the sort of criticism that I love, it is through it that I will eventually improve. I find it far more difficult to make sound judgements in the field. Decisions seem easier when you have the time afforded by working in the studio.

Bill Cramer said...

I have a tendency to rush things, but I find if I spend just a little more time setting up the composition and sketch it out first I get better results. Of course, if you haven't much time you may have to go right to the panel, but still take a bit more time getting it right. You can fix some values and colors later in the studio, but rarely can you fix the drawing.