15 Day Challenge, Trees – Day 2

Staying with the Poplar species, I decided to do a quick landscape with a line of Poplar trees running through the middle of the scene for Day 2.   This is an oil pastel on Strathmore pastel paper (5×7).

These exercises are already serving the purpose I wanted, helping me to analyze tree form, supporting structure of branches, and capturing colors of a landscape.  With OPs it’s a challenge because the medium is wet and sticky so you really need to know color blends before you begin painting, or you run the risk of ruining the painting right from the start.

I know that this was a quick landscape, but several things are not making the grade.  If I’m honest with the challenge, you’ll see the good and bad – hope you don’t mind.

  • You’ll notice the Poplar trees are in the middle ground, but I didn’t accomplish a true middle ground for several reasons:  while structure of the trees is good, size of the trees are too large – notice the tree tops go beyond the top of the painting surface.  In addition they are too green, need some blue and grays to knock them back into the painting.  These two factors bring the trees more forward for a middle ground.
  • The background landmass has too much green, blue/green and grays as the base color would have been more appropriate if keeping with a proper aerial perspective.
  • I don’t like the foreground working vegetable field, it doesn’t work.  I’m thinking an all grass field would have fit the scene better.

Doing a quick thumbnail sketch before painting this piece would have revealed a lot of the above issues.  So why didn’t I just go back and change the above aspects after the fact.  Because the main purpose was to paint a quick study, going back and making major changes turns this into a serious painting.  Instead the assessment made here will aid me in future landscapes.

This is becoming a great exercise for future paintings, thanks for checking in.

Day 2, Poplar Tree Landscape

Day 2, Poplar Tree Landscape

About Mary

Oil Pastelist
This entry was posted in Challenges: Subject Matter Studies, Trees and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 15 Day Challenge, Trees – Day 2

  1. M-R says:

    Poplars really do make such a good subject ! – and I never thought of them in that light.
    I hereby give you permission to paint more of ’em.

    • Mary says:

      Well M.R. what will I do when you take a sabbatical from blogging? Thank you always and just think what will be here waiting for you!

  2. Quick studies and an eye on analyzing the aspects of: color, perspective, proportions are all valuable lessons from which you can deduct and learn the process of preparing yourself in a better way when you decide to paint full scale! It’s a priceless practice mode that will pay off all your efforts an take you to a level where the results will speak for themselves! Practice, practice, practice will bring you also a tremendous amount of experience which plays a key role in any artist professional life. For now I can say that you have chosen the right path to go down and enrich your artist path with valuable challenges.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Eva your comments are insightful and come with much experience. I can’t tell you what it means to have artists like yourself to share your thoughts – this is what encourages me to keep moving forward, challenge myself and in the end produce pieces that shows the effects of these studies.

  3. I like this. But I see why you have problems with it after I read the blog. But what a great way to learn. You are very insightful into your art. I wish I were. Many times I know my piece is either good, bad or indifferent, but I often can’t figure out why.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Kerry. An artist friend suggested that I also provide a self-assessment, so in some of these studies I’ll be doing this. In this case, the problem areas became really evident – but since it was a study I decided not to do the painting over rather just learn from it.

  4. I like that exercise too. I never do thumbnails or even draw a rough with my pencil before adding color. I prefer learning the …hard way too! Hard but more efficient! I do like the outcome though, Mary! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank Marina. Your experience guides you so well, it shows in your beautiful paintings – it’s your internal vision that is on show. Most times I have to mix and blend colors on scrap paper to find the right combination before I paint, because oil pastels never dry it’s difficult to wipe (scrape off) color mistakes. There more I look at this study, the more a field of grass would fit the scene – will consider that down the road.

  5. A very nice working discussion…when one gets deep into art, the “mistakes” are very valuable for what they can teach. For a poet it’s the many “crossed-out” drafts that reveal a process..(easier to keep before the invention of the word processor’s delete button). It’s also interesting to observe how a concentration on one aspect (tree form, greens) can take your attention away from another(aerial perspective)….and the balancing act which is “the whole”..This seems like such a worthwhile project, Mary. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Mary says:

      Thank so much Cynthia, I knew you’d get it. This is a great process for me and one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time exactly because of what you’ve stated. I’ve no doubt that each subject I tackle will be a reveal in some aspect. It’s great that you related the process to writing and “crossed-out” drafts so very true (loved the bit about word processor’s, that was very interesting). Thanks and hope you stick with me on this one.

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