Saturday, 30 August 2008

Painting Forests

A few weeks ago my in laws came to visit for an afternoon of lunching and walking and visiting and chatting. While they were here my father-in-law professed admiration for a painting I had made years ago called "Witches". It's a small canvass that is very, very colourful.

I decided to give the painting to him as a gift and he insisted on giving me some money to at least get a new canvass to replace it.

A trip into town yeilded 4 new canvasses for the money he gave me and so now I have to come up with something to fill them all with. Two of them are long and narrow (30cm x 90cm) and I want to make one painting out of know with a split up the middle so it's all arty and groovy and has lattes for brunch while wearing a beret.

I've been thinking and thinking about what I want to paint and I keep comming back to the idea of some sort of dark forest scene with intertwined roots and vines and a path that leads to who-knows-where. Think of Mirkwood from The Hobbit. The kind of place that could have giant, talking homicidal spiders and Woodelves that will lure you to an uncertain future as a prisioner in a dank dungeon.

Only problem it, I've never really painted a forest scene before. I've been practicing a little with my graphics tab, to make a few sort of preliminary sketches. Trying to work out the best way to convey the depth and density of this image I have in my head.

My first try was based on this pic and ended up looking like this:

Now, while I like the colours and the way the roots turned out, it became not so much a forest as a few dead trees standing on a hill. Kind of broody but there doesn't appear to be anywhere for those pesky Woodelves to hide before taking you hostage.

So it's back to the drawing board (almost literally) and time to start from scratch. No photos to trace from this time. just throwing colors on and blending them till I get something I like.

Having the graphics tab to do the sketches with is a real blessing because it means that any mistakes are easily rectified and I can spend hours tweeking it without having to worry about the paint drying. Only problem is, when it comes to doing the real thing, am I going to be able to get the same effect with my acrylics.

Time will tell I guess.

Here's a progress shot of the "free hand" piece I have been practicing on now.

Nowhere near respectable yet but you get the idea....... (I hope)


I didn't really like the yellow background so now it looks a bit like this:

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