Thursday, August 20, 2020

Lake Swan - Fix It Friday #25!

Lake Swan, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2020

Can you believe I have been at this for 25 straight weeks? I can't! This series has been a great way to stay in touch while I've been working on larger paintings for my upcoming show in the fall. It has also provided a weekly marker to get me through the Ground Hog Days of quarantining! Fridays = Fix it. TGIF! 

BUT, as fun as it has been, I will be taking a little hiatus from the weekly post...

It's time to change it up. Summer is almost over and my show opens October 24th at the Davis Gallery here in Austin. The next two months will be busy with finishing works for the show, getting them framed, and marketing them! (You will soon start hearing from me about that!) I also have visits with my kids and grandkids planned. So... with great appreciation to all who have followed along with me and sent your encouragements... a heart-felt THANK YOU!!!

Here is Lake Swan, on Fix it Friday #25!!!



Problem - The lighting in the scene was inconsistent with the lighting on the swan. (Everything in the scene needed more contrast and brightness to be agreement with the swan about the light.)
Fix - Added streak of blue to sky (it transformed yellow haze into a brilliant day).
Fix - Made water more reflective of the blue sky.
Fix - Popped the light on the loose reeds. Sparkle.
Fix - Added highlights on the distant shore. (That is Westlake Beach in the distance, local friends! You know who you are.) ;)

Problem - The water lacked structure so the surface didn't look flat.
Fix - Defined all reflections.
Fix - Reordered the water patterns to recede, making them larger in front, smaller and condensed in distance.


Throughout a painting session, it's always good to keep remembering where the light is coming from. It's also helpful to make sure the entire painting agrees about where, and how, that light is shining! :) 

I love the swans on Lake Austin. They have babies every year and swim around as a family. Although they never sit still enough or close enough, I constantly try to get pictures. And did you know this? Swans mate for life. LOVE that. 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Field of Cactus - Fix It Friday #24

Field of Cactus, 12 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2020

Texas cactus! It's beautiful, especially when it blooms and... it's very invasive. Once it gets started, it just duplicates itself over and over. If an "ear" falls off, stick it in the ground and it will happily survive, grow, and spread!! All that to say, my fix today is all about better depicting ranch land full of propagated cactus. 




Problem - Layers of cactus were not "laying down" on the picture plane.
Fix - Created a definitive scale shift from front to back, making layers incrementally smaller as they move into the distance. 
Fix - Muted layers incrementally as they recede.

Problem - Field just didn't have enough cactus!! 
Fix - Added another layer of cactus at the fence line.

Problem - Overcast sky was lack-luster in color and interest.
Fix - Intensified the purplish color that was there and popped the bit of light. 


Working with elements in the landscape to push them into the distance is a great challenge. Today's fix was a wonderful exercise in doing just that... scale shift, atmospheric perspective, overlapping, and layering were all used here. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Vineyard View - Fix It Friday #23

Vineyard View, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2020

Today's fix is from a Napa Valley trip I took a few years ago...
The day I chose this location to do some plein air painting, the sky was full of gorgeous clouds. When I came back the next morning, it was foggy but I blocked in my painting leaving LOTS of room for that glorious sky. I just knew it was coming. It never did. The fog never wore off. Best laid plans gone awry, and the painting stayed misty. Until now...




Problem - Canvas looked "cut in half" at the horizontal center line.
Fix - Raised up the mountain tops slightly past center and added activity above the center line.

Problem - So much canvas devoted to the sky, but nothing going on.
Fix - Added a sky feature - clouds! 

Problem - Foreground field was disconnected from distant field layers. 
Fix - Darkened the foreground to a value more similar to the field beyond, and added "field markings" to make it feel like a continuation of tilled land.

Problem - Background mountain range was disconnected from previous field layers. 
Fix - Added just a "suggestion" of fields continuing into distant valleys, in order to make the valley feel expansive and cohesive.


Thank goodness I took some pictures of that first day with all the clouds! And thank goodness I still had them in my files! It took me awhile to revisit this one, but I'm so glad I did! It now looks like, feels like, smells like the lush valley vista that I was so compelled to paint on that California hillside!!