Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grasse, rework of a Plein Air study..Work in Progress

I have reworked the painting of Grasse, in Provence. I have 'made' a video of the process using the photos. I also want to give another commentary post, explaining the stages and my reasons for the changes made.

Here is a photograph of the view that I painted originally.

You will notice by the tree to the right of the photo that this plein air study was painted slightly to the right of the photograph. Both the tree and the roof angle are different. You will also notice that I simplified the buildings roof in the study as I didn't want too much detail to interfer with the landscape. Here is the advantage of painting studies, the landscape has become secondary to the line and character of the tree in the foreground.

I have started by reworking the sky, overpainting the clouds and creating a gradient down the sky to create both distance and heat.
I then re-painted the tree-tops/trees in the foreground removing the cold tones to allow the trees to come further forward and the distant landscape to go back.
I warmed the distant mountains, and cooled and darkened the foothills, this creates further depth in the painting which originally was quite flat.

My next step was further rework of the foliage in the foreground, and I have painted in a rail fence, using the reference below

this was taken elsewhere in Grasse although close by to the site and is contemporary to the original view.

This includes removing the 'Red/Copper' foliage in the bottom right corner which both detracted from the main area of the landscape and allowed the painting to drift off the canvas.
The Cypres tree on the left was removed as it divided the painting into thirds with the one on the right. The tall building in the mid foreground has had the green area to it's right removed and a building painted in, sending it back into the town rather than allowing it to move too far forward into the trees.

The railings have been added to allow the pine tree to become the subject of the painting, as this was my favourite part of the study originally. These also help to separate the position of the easel (including the tree) from the rest of the painting, giving further depth, and perspective to the painting.

My next move was to reposition the roof line of the housebelow the roadway. Both lowering the pitch and moving the apex from the center of the painting. This improves the look of the roof and helps the balance and movement throughout the picture.

I then have added highlights to the railings in a pale green. I have reworked the foliage at the bottom right corner again, removing the curve look of the green shrub and adjusting the bluer folige to make it less stringy and more solid. I have not allowed the top rail of the fence to go all the way out of the left hand side of the painting, combined with the highlight colour and tone this has stopped it dividing the picture across the bottom.

Finally I have added some of the sky blue into the highlights on the fence and left the work as finished. I have left the Pine tree as it is, painted loosely and direct. It is this freshness that makes the painting, the rest of the landscape is just background to the tree although still recognizable as Grasse.

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