Sunday, June 26, 2011

Forest Workshop

I enjoyed another great workshop yesterday at Terra Verde Gallery in Albany.

The subject this time was a Karri Forest. These are not the easiest things to paint but, once again, everyone did a terrific job in the time available.

Here's a small (20x26cm) reference I painted last weekend...

It's a fairly simple design and not without its faults - like the small tree being too close to the centre of the painting - but it did the job as a reference sketch.

Here's my demonstration painting from the workshop (the photography on these isn't great). I used a limited palette approach on this one to simplify the process a little...

forest painting workshop in oil

The major lessons here include atmospheric perspective and tonal contrast. While our minds will usually read a karri tree trunk as being somewhat pale, or "beige", it is actually quite dark except where the sunlight hits. You can see this in the greyscale image below. Note how dark the trunk of the main tree is against the sky...

Tones are relative to surroundings so the smoother bark on the tree is lighter than the rough bark and the shadowed foreground shrubbery but quite dark compared to other parts of the painting. You can also see how the shadow-side of the smaller tree is virtually the same tone as the background yet it stands out quite clearly in the colour image. This is where temperature changes get to work to differentiate objects.

Getting these tones right, especially in seemingly busy scenes like this, can present a challenge to the uninitiated. To be honest, it still tests me.

This simple graphic demonstrates the concept. The small grey rectangle appears to change tone but it is in fact just one shade of grey all over. It is the changing tones surrounding it that affect our perception of it.

Is it any wonder tonalism is such a challenge when our minds play tricks like this on us?

Here's some pics of the workshop gang hard at work...

Thanks again to everyone for making these workshops so enjoyable.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great workshop and a lovely reference to work from!