Near and far in ParadisePosted: September 1, 2022
The views along the Yellowstone River in Montana are almost too beautiful to paint. Looking at this scene early one morning, I wondered how I could capture all of this with my paintbrush — the fast-moving river, the distant mountains, the yellow hills, trees both near and far — but the answer is always by thinking about values. In fact, the late-summer scenes I saw in Montana were often a study in values and I could have spent the week just painting in Payne’s grey. In this valley, no matter which way you look, everything is about the near and the far because there is always a backdrop of hills in the distance. Colour is secondary, in this place, at this time of year.
The first step in a scene like this is to break down the puzzle pieces (and there were many of them) into a value pattern. My pattern is quite simple: a few pencil lines to break down the rectangle into big shapes, followed by a single colour sketch (in this case Neutral Tint) of the five values that I might use to paint the scene. No details in this, just big shapes. Once that is done, I have a roadmap I can work with for the colour version. And if I’m lucky, a little flexibility with detail to add in a few fishermen too.