Mountain View Photo Demo

Mountain view photo demo:

Photo of mountain view

Photo of Mountain View taken from the parking area.

This mountain view was taken at Bainskloof Pass, in the Cape. The house you see in the photograph is a private cottage. We didn’t walk down to the cottage.

We parked in the shade of the trees, you can see in the photograph. That is to the left of the photograph, in the foreground, and walked back to the lodge where you pay entrance to the nature reserve. The lodge is to the right, out of the vision of the photograph.

If you want something to eat, the lodge only operates as a restaurant over the weekends. The place is very interesting, built higgledy-piggledy braced up over the hillside. And the owner was friendly and helpful. When giving instructions as to how to find your way down into the gorge, he said, “Just follow that path, go through the gate and follow the fence to your left” And went on to say the scene down by the river is beautiful and further down the river there were some pools. He also ask if we were fit enough to do the trail?

But he didn’t mention there wasn’t a path after the gate! And we soon found out why he asked if we were fit enough. If you also wish to do the trail, please be prepared, you need flexible rubber-soled hiking shoes. We had to find our way through and over rocks and huge boulders to climb down into the gorge. But it was worth it. The view was fantastic.

Please note, the previous oil painting photo demo I did (see blog: Bainskloof Pass) originated from one of the pools the owner of the lodge mentioned.

Mountain view oil painting demo:

Oil painting of mountain view

Oil painting demo of artist’s impression.

I found the closeness of the surrounding mountains very impressive. This view of the mountains was too good to miss.

You will notice that the house in the painting isn’t the same as in the photograph though. That was me using artists’ licence. I thought the house in the photo wasn’t dynamic or romantic enough. And felt it needed a cosy looking house. Please forgive me, but wouldn’t a Dutch Cape house just fit the bill, rightfully so?!

If you look carefully, you will also notice some other changes. The gap between the trees was filled in a little and the trestles by the wall on the right, was left out. As to the mountain in the background, I didn’t put in every rock and stone. Nor did I put in every twig or leaf. I just suggested their existence. Even so the painting still looks somewhat busy. Oh what the heck, without some description the painting wouldn’t be so interesting! What do you think?

So what holds the painting together? The formation and difference of tone. The darkest area, ie trees shadow and thatch roof of the cottage, flow through the composition from left to right, contrasting against medium and lighter areas of the painting. Thus giving definition and enhancing perspective.

Thanks for reading this photo demo. Hope you enjoyed it. Will be away again for the month of July. Going to a farm between Settlers and Marble Hall in the Transvaal. The surrounding bush is beautiful. Full of wildlife. Hope to use wi-fi there and post some watercolours while I’m there.

Majestic Mountains of the Cape

Photograph of Cape mountains

Photo of majestic mountains near Worcester in the Cape.

Majestic mountains of the Cape:

These majestic mountains in the photograph, with their heads high in the clouds were seen on our way back from our stay in the small town of McGrgor in the Cape.  I think this range of mountains are somewhere in the Worcester area.

First attraction is the height and seeming power these mountains have. As to the contrast of colour and tone, the subtle patchwork patterns of the cloud shadows over their foothills and surrounding valleys is so beautiful, it makes it a `must to paint’

Timing is crucial when getting photographs from a moving vehicle.

Waiting for just the right time to click the camera, I still captured part of the framework of the car window!  And if you zoom in carefully you will see someone walking into the center trees. The house you see in my painting, surrounded by trees in my painting though, is my addition!

The composition of the majestic mountains scene:

Even with the hazard of taking photographs from a moving car, I was lucky this time to get a fairly good composition format. The trees in the center work as a fulcrum and the two smaller bare trees in the foreground help to lead the eye into the picture. And see how the contour lines of the mountains draw towards the tree fulcrum? You could almost say as well the sky and mountain (blue/grey) area cover two thirds of the compositions and the foreground one third “horizon” space (fresh warm colour) at the bottom of the composition.

Oil painting of mountains near Worcester in the Cape, South Africa

Oil painting of the majestic mountains

I painted the mountains different tones of blue. And then because I didn’t want the grandeur and shadows of the majestic mountains to look patchy, I filled in and blended the colours by interlacing and `scumbling’ the colours.

To get just the right effect I allowed each layer of paint to dry before applying another `scumbled’ coat of paint. This took about two sittings. This technique allows each coat to radiate through, creating a shimmering effect.  It works somewhat like impressionistic interrelationships of more than one colour, shimmering together so as to be seen at last as a `third’ dimension of colour.

Judgement:

Once I allowed my husband to go out canvassing new galleries for me while I was preparing a new stock of paintings. I smiled when he came back to tell me one gallery owner thought my technique of scumbling was a sign of indecision. His remark showed me that the gallery owner didn’t know all that much about painting! If you try to apply one coat, with one contrived colour direct from your palette you can’t achieve convincing blends of different hues.

Technique and style:

I love painting atmospheric conditions. I will do anything it takes to create special effects. That is an artists’ prerogative, to use his or her artistic licence. With the interlacing of techniques, each artist creates his own recognizable style. Just as Vincent van Gogh’s work was considered amateur in his day, his particular technique of applying his paint is now admired and considered masterful!

What do think? Have artists the right to create new ways of doing things? Or should we stagnate in old expectations?

Now you have seen how I painted these majestic mountains, perhaps you would like to see more paintings? Please feel free to check out ‘Photo demos’ page and category.

Over the Treetops

`Over the Treetops’ is a photo demo painting blog.

The photograph is of the treetops and range of mountains, seen from the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve, near the quaint town of McGregor.

Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

Photo of Vrollijkheid view of treetops and surrounding mountains

 

The reserve was so beautiful over the Easter weekend. Even though there are sign-posted descriptions of plants, etc along the pathways, the milieu of the reserve is still kept unscathed by its tourist attraction.

Photograph of an owl

Photo of a spotted eagle owl sitting in a tree.

On the way back from one of the bird hides we came across a most serene friendly spotted-eagle owl. It sat there quietly watching us from a tree above the pathway, only about two meters away can you believe it! Very impressive. Seemly unconcerned about us, maybe more interested in us than we in it. An unforgettable experience.

Because it was the beginning of autumn there was a variety of colours, subtle maybe for the average man to see, but to the artist, a place of pure beauty where your imagination could run wild.

The ‘Over the Treetops watercolor demo:

High over the treetops you can see the surround hills of the Riviersonderend mountains of the Cape.

 

Watercolor landscape

`Over the Toptops’ is a watercolour of the view from the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve.

`Over the Treetops’ was painted on A5 textured 200gsm Amegeo mixed media paper. Not the easiest paper to paint watercolours on. But I suppose one can get used to its particular idiosyncrasies if you use it often enough.

A light imprimatura wash of raw sienna was done first. I must say the wash for `Over the Treetops’ was done about 3-4 weeks ago in anticipation of doing a watercolour demo. I often do this in advance, especially if I plan to paint on location. Capturing special effects isn’t easy when working on location. You have to be well prepared because weather, light and atmospheric conditions, change quickly while working on location. Doing as much as you can beforehand, saves a lot of time when the sun seems to speed through the sky!

Of cause the painting isn’t like the photograph. I painted the scene according to my imagination. Zooming in, cutting out most of the foreground, bring out and contrasting colours, makes it feel like you are looking high over the treetops, towards the haze over the mountains. To emphasis this feeling I reserved a few tiny spots to give the scene a leafy ambience. This contrasted with the smooth description of the mountainous background.

Hope you enjoyed `Over the Treetops’ watercolour. If you want to see more photograph demo on this reserve, check out the ‘Heron Nature Trail’ blog. Also `Photo and painting demo’ of a Dutch Cape styled house in the town of McGregor.

 

 

Klipriver Nature Reserve

Klipriver Nature reserve

Klipriver nature reserve in winter.

Photo location:

Klipriver nature reserve is situated between Alberton and Kibler Park, below Mulbarton. There is no entrance charge or fence restriction.

When we went there at wintertime, there were youngsters on two quad-bikes having fun riding up and over rough terrain. Maybe they were there practicing, because nearby there is a popular cross country bike track grounds close to the reserve.

Klipriver dam in winter

Sand bank dam in Klipriver nature reserve.

There is a sand bank dam in the upper part of the nature reserve is surrounded by reeds.  Previously I have done an autumn colour oil painting of the dam. With silver shimmer on the dam water and the sun setting low, it gave the scene a golden-pinkish atmospheric haze. I’ve shown the dam in a photo, but I can’t show the painting I did because the painting has been sold. But why I have mentioned it? Because its a lesser known nature reserve and should be updated and upgraded as a tourist venue. I only hope its reserved for wildlife and folks don’t carelessly destroy it with sport vehicles and pollute it with rubbish.

Wildlife and birdwatching:

Some of the reserve is open velt (grassland) and a part with rock outcrops. But further along below Kilber park, there is marshland with a stream running through tall reeds. Naturally where there are reeds, there is always a possibility of finding water bird life, birds and ducks like weavers, Egyptian geese, coots, egrets and herons.

Winter, lower Alberton

Watercolour demo of bare winter tree.

Now a watercolour demo of the Klipriver nature reserve:

I mainly use Winsor Newton pigments because of their quality, but sometimes use other products to create special effects. It all depends of cause on what art materials are available in South Africa.

  1. First a light overall imprimatura wash of raw sienna, and when that was dry a light wash of French ultramarine blue in the sky area.
  2. Next, the distant mountain range was put in, leaving a jigger (rapid jerky up and down strokes) contour bottom edge for grass outline. The camera always makes distant mountains look flat and insignificant. I always like to enlarge distant mountains and exploit the colours to enhance my paintings.
  3. The trees were put in before the middle ground and foreground. The big bare tree was painted with burnt umber with French ultramarine blue dropped-in.
  4. For me it’s always fun adding fine twigs to trees. Notice the light extra wash of blue and pink is added to the twigs. This aura softens the contrast and bareness of the branches and twigs of the tree, preventing the painting from been stark.
  5. For the dry winter grass I used raw sienna, and where spots were reserved for highlights I added Rembrandt gamboge yellow. This pigment is more translucent than Winson Newton’s gamboge yellow.
  6. The chiaroscuro over the tree’s roots gives the painting involved dimension. That is, not only visually stepping over the roots, but somewhat like you were climbing over them, up the bank.
  7. A tinge of sap green was added here and there. And the blue of the sky is recaptured below in the lower part of the painting.

There are more photo painting demos:

Check out: “Photo Demos” page and  previous “Old Willow Stump” blog.