Wednesday, July 28, 2010

House in Sea of Hydrangeas

The hydrangeas this year had grown like crazy. According to the expert, this was due to a very snowy winter, and thus the flower buds were protected inside the snow. Whatever reason it was, the flowers were just magnificent this year. So I decided to paint them with the house together. It's oil on 18x24" stretched canvas.

The view is an early morning view, so the air is crisp, and the sun is coming from the side. The reflections of the trees on the house windows were so neat I had to include them. If you look closely, you can even see of part of a lamp shade and part of a beam inside the house. Just minor details I thought would be interesting to include. I also simplified the deck since there were too many chairs, lounge chairs, towels hanging on the deck railing etc.

The hydrangeas were mostly painted with violet grey, combined with different colors, such as ultramarine violet, white, a little red. The chimney I kept relatively red since I thought it would be a nice complement with all the greens around. To give the big pine tree some fullness, beside the leaves and branches facing front, I also painted some back facing leaves and branches using ultramarine blue. (I think one of the Monet paintings had used that technique, so I decided to try it). Looking at this and the previous painting, it makes me want to go back to the island!

Sengekontacket View

We've been coming to Martha's Vineyard every year, and I always wanted a painting of the view over Sengekontacket pond. Now I can paint, I decided I would give it a go. This is painted with oil on 18x24" stretched canvas.

In actuality, the view is a lot wider than my 18x24 canvas, so I had to compress the scene. I wanted to capture the water view in the background, as well as the flower bed and lawn. The cut flower garden is not as colorful when we went this year as some of the prior years, so I dug out a picture from a couple of years ago.

Also, the massive lawn was a bit problematic since that was so much green and it would be kinda boring with all green lawn in the foreground. So I decided to include part of the shadow of an old pine tree, which sits a little further back in the yard. The dark shadow on the right I thought would balance out the darker tone trees on the left.

Again, I started with a rough sketch of where things should be and then with a yellow orchre under layer. Trees and vegetations were painted with big blocks of color. Our view this year is block by a lot of wild trees which need to be topped. So I topped them in my painting first.

The lawn was still a bit problematic for me since it originally didn't look very grassy. At the end I decided to use a small fan brush and put in more texture using color such as sap green, viridian, gold orchre, french ultramarine etc. I also added into tree holes for the tree shadow so that I don't have a solid clump of dark mass on the grass.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A View from the Peak - Hong Kong

This is for Virtual Paintout July 2010, Hong Kong. It's oil on 10x14" stretched canvas.

I was browsing on the island of Hong Kong in Google Map, and found this amazing panoramic view of the Victoria Harbor on Barker Street. (ref photo) It was clear enough of a day that you can see pretty far, yet it was still covered with a layer of perpetual smog. I like the harbor and buildings that draw your eyes from the left to the right. The smog actually adds to the perspective element, so I decided to include it as well.

The house with the red roof has a majestic view of Hong Kong skyline. It even has a swimming pool! (Who knows which gazillionaire lives there. ) The red roof and the green mountain is the main foreground layer. There's actually another foreground layer even closer to the view, and is the dark trees at the bottom left and right hand corners. The viewer is actually looking at this scene from within the shadow.

The city skyline was very tedious to paint. I included some of the main skyline elements that are either tall or have interesting shapes. Everything else is just a suggestion of another skyscrapper. Across the harbor there are even more buildings, I've further tuned down the color to show they're far away. The colors I used included, but not limited to: Gamblin's Portland grey - light, medium, dark, Rowney's flesh tint, voilet grey, tree green, sap green, lemon yellow, gold orchres, ultramarine violet, ultramarine blue, and burnt umber.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Four Cherries

This is for Rookie Painter July challenge. It's oil on 9x12 canvas board.

Similar to the Three Oranges I painted for this challenge a few months ago, the Four Cherries is also a study of spheres, reflections and interaction of light off each of the objects. I thought the reference picture had pretty good composition. (ref photo) So I kept all the cherries, and all I did was moving background horizon line above the middle of the canvas.

Alizarin (dark red) was the main color for the cherries. It was darken with a combination of ultramarin violet, ultramarin blue, and burnt umber at the darkest places, and lighten with cadmium red, and some lemon yellow as needed. I thought the cherry reflections on the table were interesting to include, so I made them a bit more visible than the reference photo. The cherries were very reflective of light, but I didn't want them to start looking like glass marble balls, so I gave the main cherries more texture, for example, the dimples on the left cherry, and the subtle veins for the middle cherry. The other two cherries I kept relatively texture free except for light reflections.