Ques­tion How can I paint a dense for­est with­out it dis­tract­ing the eye?

Ta­tiana Rogers, Aus­tralia

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

An­swer Belinda replies

Forests have been the quin­tes­sen­tial sub­ject for many land­scape pain­ters through­out art his­tory, and no doubt they’ve caused many headaches, too.

When choosing a clas­sic, chal­leng­ing scene such as this, I like to look at the work of the Old Mas­ters to see how they tack­led these prob­lems. I of­ten find that their so­lu­tion was a good com­po­si­tion and the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of val­ues and shapes. In this case I look at work of Rus­sian master, Ivan Shishkin.

Ef­fec­tive com­po­si­tions have a clear fo­cal point and a flow that in­ten­tion­ally leads the eye around the im­age. In this sketch, I group my val­ues into lights, mid-tones and darks and I com­pose my im­age start­ing from big to small shapes.

To draw the eye I place my small­est shapes and ar­eas of high­est con­trast in the fo­cal point and keep the con­trast com­par­a­tively low ev­ery­where else. I make the dis­tant trees a sim­i­lar value to the at­mos­phere, so as not to draw the eye too much, whereas fore­ground ob­jects are close in value to the ground, which helps to bring them closer to the viewer’s eye.

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