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Enthusiasm Gets the Better of Me

unfinished abandoned oil landscape painting

Painting is a continuous learning process – especially now I’m working with oil paints again. I’m still figuring out the best ways to work through a painting. Part of the process is making mistakes and learning from them without getting disheartened. I feel I jumped into this one too fast without adequate planning. I was excited to be painting again and was just keen to get paint on the canvas and go for it

This piece is a mistake. I’m abandoning it for several reasons.

Firstly, the scene itself is quite complex with a lot of distance and detail. I got straight to work on the clouds blending mid-tones and shadows. As a result, the sky has become a bit wishy-washy and not the defined, dramatic winter cloudscape I want.

Secondly, the biggest draw of this scene should be the golden winter light in the foreground and the subtle mix of cool and warm tones in the sky. I just got it so wrong with the colours. I need to test my colours out separately first because if they’re not right, the painting won’t have the visual impact I want it to.

Thirdly, I just took delivery of Liquin Original — a medium I have never used before. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to mix some in before I’d even got a feel for how it affects paint! It made what I had intended for a crisp, dark treeline into a pale, translucent mush that spoiled the horizon.

So the steps I’m going to take to make this painting work are:

  • Pencil in the composition
  • Test colours and their relationships on a separate canvas
  • Block in the key mid-tone areas.
  • Work on highlights and shadows
  • Finish with details

Hopefully, I’ll have something much better to report back with!

Published by Chris

Landscape artist Chris Richards lives on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in the village of Ystradgynlais. Chris works mainly in oil and acrylics, but also experiments with ink pens, watercolours, and soft pastels

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