Up a Creek

MurrayG

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Hi Folks, this is sort f a WIP, but I think I will do a new iteration rather than fiddle. I scored some new pastels and have been trying out some new techniques (for me). Thiis was a quick painting bringing together some of my "research". I tried a pastel underdrawing which I then painted out with 70% alcohol. I then tried some new ways to use pastels, rather than my semicontrolled drawing style I have been using. I wanted to try something I was not used to to see what I could get to. The paper rippled a bit and mostly flattened but not totally. My underwash was a bit strong but it was an experiment. From a photo my son sent me of the Canberra area (Aust) but I have seen similar on the west coast so I have some memory of the Aussie bush.
Mostly Rembrandts with a few Sennerliers towards the end. 30x42 cm on Canson MT smooth side. The phone again doesnt snag the colours but thats normal for me. It is rather an experiment, but any thoughts are welcome.
IMG_154353-FleaWIP1.jpg
 
I like this composition - so it's likely a fun photograph, as well. :) The foreground here is very good: water over rocks is not something I'm good at. The line of the creek leads the eye straight up the center, which I like. The grasses also look good.

Are the trees bending toward the water? I'm wondering about the vertical lines of your trees in the background.
 
I agree with Terri, the foreground is very good. Great job with the rocks and water. The stream of water in the center draws the eye in. I was also wondering about the trees on either side leaning towards the center. I know the are on hills. Something about the tops of the trees seems off. With all that said I do really like this.
 
I like this composition - so it's likely a fun photograph, as well. :) The foreground here is very good: water over rocks is not something I'm good at. The line of the creek leads the eye straight up the center, which I like. The grasses also look good.

Are the trees bending toward the water? I'm wondering about the vertical lines of your trees in the background.
Hi Terri, thanks, hmm, in the photo it is a bit of a mix with the trees. But you are right, I may have over amplified. Thanks for the comments and observations
 
I agree with Terri, the foreground is very good. Great job with the rocks and water. The stream of water in the center draws the eye in. I was also wondering about the trees on either side leaning towards the center. I know the are on hills. Something about the tops of the trees seems off. With all that said I do really like this.
Hi Queenbee. This started as an experiment and was a rush job :) but I learnt a lot. I agree, I am semi OK with the foreground and the trees are showing promise, but they are not right (to me). I was testing the sides of the pastel over the background painting and it is not quite right. Drawing into the underpainting is not smooth enough. I also used Sennelier for the first time in doing the skyholes but without smudging so its a bit sharp. Thanks so much for your thoughts and insights.
Takeaways :
I like sennerlier but they are soooo buttery compared to Remmys
I need to tone down the alcohol underpainting and use 95 not 70%
My water needs some work.
Skyholes need to be softened/smudged
Trees in deep background need some "learning".
Using the side of the pastel is good baut needs a delicate touch to prevent over colouring.
Other things will come to mind

Thanks again for looking
 
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This is a beautiful scene. I love your water, especially where it flows around the rocks. I agree with what others have said about the trees, but I really like the tops of them. And it's good to experiment!
 
It sounds like you are learning a lot from your experimentation. I am glad you are going to be taking what you have learned and using it to improve. Bravo.
 
This is quite a nice painting, Murray, whether it's an experiment or not! I've never used Canson MT. Do you like it and is it toothy enough for layering? I like your idea to work on the trees a little. Skyholes could be softened and you could possibly simplify the forms of the foliage so that they read more like a mass than individual trees since they are in the background. The rocks and water are gorgeous!
 
Great to see your experiment with pastel methods. I love the subtle colours of the foreground rocks, and I think you have something interesting going on with the trees - particularly on the right-hand side where there looks to be some more colour variation.

I'd never tried Rembrandt pastels until I bought a small set for working outdoors. They're tricky for me as I find them quite hard, so it's fun to read your thoughts on the different brands and get another perspective.
 
like the sky and the bottom half .. you never learn if you don't play .. good experience
Thanks Wayne. There are bits I like, I think this exercise helped to define styles and technique for me. The different pastels offer options as well. Thanks for commenting.
 
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This is quite a nice painting, Murray, whether it's an experiment or not! I've never used Canson MT. Do you like it and is it toothy enough for layering? I like your idea to work on the trees a little. Skyholes could be softened and you could possibly simplify the forms of the foliage so that they read more like a mass than individual trees since they are in the background. The rocks and water are gorgeous!
Hi Donnat, The Canson MT is not my favourite paper, I really dont like the waffle side as I cannot get colour into it. The smooth side is OK. It takes some layering with Rembrandts but I suspect with Sennelier it fills quickly. I will try some fixing steps. The main reason for the Canson is I cannot get any others where I am and the "post" is hit and miss if I order online. Thanks for the hints on the trees.
 
Great to see your experiment with pastel methods. I love the subtle colours of the foreground rocks, and I think you have something interesting going on with the trees - particularly on the right-hand side where there looks to be some more colour variation.

I'd never tried Rembrandt pastels until I bought a small set for working outdoors. They're tricky for me as I find them quite hard, so it's fun to read your thoughts on the different brands and get another perspective.
I started with FaberCastell just to try pastels. I still have a soft spot for them, so bright even if not artists colours, I like their texture and shapes. I graduated to Rembrandts. The Rembrandt and Fabers were the only ones I could get as online delivery here is a mystery. I like them, they suite my style as I like to draw ( something I am trying to explore and loosen). On a recent trip I managed to get a Sennelier 48 landscape set, beautiful. So soft and lovely colours. They scare me a little as the pigment just flows onto Canson !!.
When I go Pleinair, I take a small set of Rembrandts and Fabers, They are half sticks or broken. I have just come to accept the texture but the colour range works for me. I find that with a finger or foam, I can blend to get a base and draw/paint into that very well even on MT.
 
Beautiful choice of colors. They all feel real. I love how you dealed with the rocks above and under the water. I always have troubles with that. 🤣
 
OK, I did fiddle more. Thanks to all who commented and gave advice. This is the finished "experiment".
I will do a new painting using the lessons learnt here, but need to get some stronger alcohol for the underwash.
Thanks for looking, any further thoughts on the changes are welcome.
IMG_105900-Flea2.jpg
 
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I think this is a really great work...I especially love the grasses around the water and the water itself. The color blends you used in the water are so pretty. Great job!!!! ♥️ ♥️
 
MurrayG, what is it you do with the alcohol?? o_O:)
I was pleased to see that you didn't use vibrant, in-your-face hues in this experiment.
I suggest on a next work, you keep the grasses of the midground. viewer left, more upright, rather than all with a lean. Very nice piece.
 
Murray, you made this even more beautiful with the changes you made! There is more depth to the sky and the trees. If you haven't tried vodka (the cheapest) for underpaintings you might give it a try. I like the way it behaves better than any of the rubbing alcohols. It does get a laugh from family members who wonder if you're really using it as an "art supply."
 
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