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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

Chris Richards is a landscape artist based in the upper Swansea Valley village of Ystradgynlais.

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