I've almost finished the snowy mountain textured painting, but I have reached a stumbling block. I've been having such a problem painting the snow stripes on it. It just ended up looking a mess, so I had to wipe the paint off and repaint the dark shadows so that I could try again.
This is now my third attempt of painting them, so fingers crossed it's the case of third time lucky. This is how my textured painting looks compared to the photograph after Stage 3:
Stage 4: Painting the snow stripes
I waited until my art class to retry painting the snow stripes. When I told Mark I was having problems painting them, he suggested putting the photograph a good distance away from me. When we look too closely at a photograph we see details we wouldn't normally see.
It really helped me seeing the photograph from a distance and I realised you wouldn't see all the detail. All I needed to do is give an impression of the stripes. I felt more confident tackling the snow stripes again.
As I couldn't find a suitable alternative to the gum interdental brush, I decided to use it again along with a fine round brush for extra detail, and it worked this time. They looked like snow stripes. Some of the shadows got lost under the stripes so I will need to paint them back in once the paint has completely dried.
Mark suggested highlighting the peaks of the front mountain. I did this and it helped bring it forward and pushed the rest of the mountain back.
I painted the shadows back in after a few days. I used the tiniest amount of black paint on a dry brush and carefully darkened the shadows. Then using a fine brush I painted back in some of the white highlights of the snow stripes. Finally I highlighted the peaks of the front mountain further, bringing it to the fore.
This is how the finished textured snowy mountain looks. It is now ready to be taken to Andy to be lovingly framed.
You can see how the painting looks framed here: Contemplation - an inward journey.
Putting the photograph further away really helped me to get a clearer picture of how the stripes actually look. It also gave me a better idea of how I should paint them.
Overall the finished mountain is quite powerful and it has the feel of a snowy mountain. The sky creates a moody and dramatic atmosphere and the finished painting evokes more feelings than the original photograph.
What didn't work?
The snow stripes aren't perfect. I tried to get my painting to look as close to the original as possible, but didn't manage it. It turned out to be more of an impression of it rather than a reproduction.
What improvements can I make?
What I have learnt from working on this painting is that I really need to be more patient, and not expect it to look like the finished painting straight away. This will stop me from getting disheartened when something doesn't look right. I wouldn't be tempted to give up on it or start again.
The wonderful thing about using oils is that mistakes can easily be wiped away or corrected. I also need to remember that it's not a problem if I completely mess up and the painting can't be salvaged. I can just start again.
I'm not completely happy with the snow stripes, but realise that even though they're not perfect, they do look like snow stripes.
1. Look at the photograph from a distance.
If you are working from a photograph, it's a really good idea to look at it from a distance from time to time. When we are working directly from a photograph, we tend to see all the details we wouldn't necessary see in reality. We are also tempted to add in all that detail which is not needed.
By putting the photograph at a distance from time to time, it will give you a better idea of the amount of detail that is actually needed in your painting. You will know what you need to add and what you can leave out.
2. Stand back from your painting.
Standing away from your painting at regular intervals will give you a better idea of how you are progressing with your painting. I know I tend to look too closely at my painting when I'm working on it, seeing every little detail. Looking at it from a distance will help you get an overall view of it. You will see how a viewer would experience it, and you will have a better idea of what you need to add and what you can leave out.