Two quick oil studies from the same reference


I haven`t been doing much painting since getting stuck on N° 37 (below).   I hated that painting but could not work out what was wrong with it.  The more I worked on it the deeper I dug myself into a hole, but I was like a dog with a bone and just would not let it go! I tried changing the shape of the canvas (and a friend pointed out that I had unconsciously changed the poplar trees into pine trees – I have no idea where they came from!)  I have finally decided to move on and paint over my second attempt.  I`ve been working from a reference photo that just doesn’t have enough information and I don’t have the skill level to pull off a large painting with my imagination.  Anyway, to put this thing to rest I did two small oil studies yesterday working with a limited palette of blue and yellow, plus a little pre-mixed grey and white.  In one I kept to a warmer mix of colors, using cerulean, and in the other I tried to keep things cool, with a touch of alizarin in the blue. The underpainting shows through in both of them.  I may play around with another study combining the two color strings since they are already mixed up, but I will not be doing a large painting.  When I started this landscape series, the plan was to quickly do a whole lot of small studies, but I let myself get bogged down by being overly ambitious.  I really hope to pull myself out of this slump and get working again.

Here’s my reference photo, followed by the latest landscapes – 38 and 39. If you’d like to use the reference and paint one yourself, please feel free to do so.

4 Responses to “Two quick oil studies from the same reference”

  1. Capt Elaine Says:

    I like both your paintings better than the photo… your paintings have life and movement. Well done… glad you buried the bone and move on. LOL

  2. jill polsby Says:

    Looking at your reference photo, I think if you actually cropped the photo so that you didn’t have the edge of that island sticking out into?……And the peacefulness of those trees in the photo versus the high wind blowing in your painting…………and here I am, a portrait painter commenting on someone’s plein air attempts…something I have such a fear of trying!

  3. Judy Says:

    I enlarged the second painting and love your brushwork in the greens, the island and water — it’s beautifully painterly. One compositional idea that strikes me is the direction of the trees curving to the right and the darks in the sky echoing that curve — it tends to lead my eye off in the same direction — right off the canvas. If the dark trees curved the other direction- to the left, into the painting, I think I’d be more inclined to linger around the island and water. Just a thought. So nice to see your paintings again!

  4. caseytoussaint Says:

    Thanks guys – you are right. I’m working up to doing just one more and maybe get it right this time.

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