re-visiting “Mt. Tam” five months later (part 5)

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MT. TAM • 40 inches x 30 inches • commission

DAY FIVE: Here is the state this painting has been in since the end of February. I didn't like it, but didn't know why. The tree wasn't really standing out very well, and the middle hill on the left wasn't right either.

As soon as I started to lighten up the sky, I knew I was on the right track. Which was a good thing since I was about to make some pretty major changes here.

I started with a very pale yellow at the horizon. Then a light blue with yellow undertones above that.

Next I added another swath of blue with more intensity than the wet paint, but much less than what was dry on the canvas.

After covering the entire sky with different shades of blue, I worked on blending it to look like a sky, then I added some soft clouds.

I basically created a whole new sky on top of the existing sky, which was on top of a solid orange canvas. So the current sky is now layer number three. How's that for being nice and durable?

Once I got the sky finished, I started working on all the land areas. I added more colors at the top of the hill beyond the tree so there was a more gradual transition between the foreground, and the grasses in the distance. Then I added more texture and color to the middle hill (on our left) of the painting. In the midst of painting these two areas, I would add little dabs of color to the hill that is the farthest in the distance. I also worked on putting colors from the sky into the water. I guess the only area left UNtouched, was the grass and path from the tree's shadow to the bottom of the canvas. Next project: FIXING THE TREE!

I can’t believe it’s been five months since I last worked on this painting.

It needed a lot of time to dry because it was so thickly covered with wet oil paints… but then I guess time just got away from me as it was just at the time when I started my two new series called  “Vacation” and “Water.”

The more time passed, the less I liked this painting. But I wasn’t exactly sure what was wrong with it. The dear friends (who have commissioned this piece) were visiting us in May, so I asked them what they thought it needed.

Their insightful observation, was that “the sky was too heavy.” I thought that was a brilliant point, so last week I went about trying to remedy that problem.

In order to fix the sky, I had to paint over the edges of the tree. Which was fine with me… the tree wasn’t done anyway to that will just motivate me to fix that up too once the NEW sky is dry.

So my next order of business to complete this piece will be to work on the tree until it gets to the place where I can say “I love it!”

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