Friday, February 15, 2008

Creating height

Sea Stacks
7 x 10 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Miki Willa

I have noticed in several paintings from tops of hills or cliffs that creating the illusion of height is pretty difficult. In this painting, the sand is not nearly this yellow so it looks a little further away, but I have still not created the sense of standing on a bluff looking down quite a way. Part of it is the lack of objects on the beach. Part of it is the size of the sea stack, perhaps. This is something I would like to learn to do better. Any suggestions about paintings where this is done well would be appreciated.

The setting for this painting is the Oregon Coast. There are several places along the coast where these grand sentinels stand just off the shore. They are millions of years old, according to the geologists. Some are alone and some in small groups. All of them are quite majestic.

I will be working this weekend, so won't post again until Monday. Thanks for visiting.


Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Liked the diamond head sunrise. Must be stunning to see it!

I wonder if you had greyed the sea more into the distance, (this post) and increased the sense of recession, the cliff would have been thrown more into relief?

These paintings have a lot of character; remind me a little of O'Keefe.

Frank said...

Hi Miki,
I do have a couple of thoughts about your painting. I think brightening the sand is definitely the way to go. I think to enhance the "standing on the bluff", a shorter fore ground would help, that is to have the trees in the fore ground show less of the middle and bottom of them; that is if you stepped ten feet closer- that is what you would see. Also, if I may, the rows of the hills on the right hand side, and for that matter the background ocean- it all seems to be of one value. Tom has told me that the further away the less intense the colors are, and as counterintuitive as it may seem by developing the sense of distance from the edge of the horizon to the edge of the three consecutive hills, and likewise the mid ground, from the right side of where the water meets the beach, toword the viewer, and the left side as also closer will make the fore groung seem the closest with the most vibrant color. That is the background and mid ground inform the foreground. I hope that you receive these comments in the spirit in which they were intended, I appreciate the opportunity to look at a work and be able to communicate with the artist.

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

ps - thanks for your comment on mine.

I remembered a tip ... if working from photos (rather than photos and sketches from life) it can be necessary to 'dramatize' the height of a feature to compensate for the distortion of lenses - plus what you said about figures giving scale. Does this help?

Miki Willa said...

Julie and Frank, I really appreciate your helpful comments. I will put all your suggestions to work, but I think I will take another attempt at this to do that. Watch for it in another week or two.