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View of Taroko Gorge oil on canvas 18" x 16"

edited October 19 in Post Your Paintings
This view of the Taroko Gorge, which I snapped a photo of about ten month ago, attracted me for it's abstract quality, and I thought it would make a very good practice study.  I'm wondering how I could have done this better/how it might be improved. Sorry for the poor photo, but hopefully you get the idea.  Painted in two sessions, about 4 hours.  Thanks for any advice.

View of Taroko Gorge, oil on canvas 18" x 16"

Ref. photo:

ForgivenessGTOArtGalmichal3michal[Deleted User]HondoRWtassieguy


  • Nicely done. You could bring the greens out in the middle ground a little more I think. Interesting composition. 
  • It’s interesting how you abstracted the small trees on the angled side of the mountain.  You also simplified the foreground elements quite a bit but it all works.  When working quickly you have to make the best use of each brush strokes which you’ve done quite well.
  • @GTO Thanks for the kind feedback. @HondoRW Thanks for the suggestion.  I'm just about to make some adjustments to the painting and was considering greening the first ridge a bit, especially the counter-changed trees, and possibly warming the foreground green?
    I thought there might be some scope for warming the clouds?  Let's see how this goes.
  • Fascinating composition and pretty close to the reference in terms of value and colour. . I agree that it wouldn't hurt to put a bit more green detail into the trees on the ridgetops.  :)
  • edited October 26

    I s that any better?  I feel I've muddied it somewhat.  How about the trees on the near ridge?  Convincing? Which version do you prefer?
  • I think the second is better. I would try to pick out individual trees or groups of trees. Don't blend and you won't muddy it. Just mix strings of values from darkest to lightest and lay them in cleanly in the right place The base of the closest ridge needs to be darker. If you put in a wrong value just scrape that stroke off and re-do it. I love oils because no brush stroke has to be final. 

    It's looking good. It's an impressive scene.  Keep going. :)
  • @tassieguy Thanks.  I've done as you suggested.  To some extent the photo is a bit misleading and the base of the ridge and the mountain stream bed below are darker than they appear here.  I was happiest about the transitions there set against the lit foreground. Let me see what it looks like tomorrow.
  • I agree with Rob that the second version is better. @Gary_Heath
    If I’m honest , I didn’t know they were trees till I zoomed in. 
    To me they seem slightly too uniform and distract from the beautiful clouds. 
    It’s a powerful piece. Great movement in it. 
  • Looking great! So in essence I guess the natural painting has more contrast in the foreground than this photo? This would be a good thing, looking forward.
  • @Hilary Thanks.  Which trees are you referring to?  The ones on the near ridge or far ridge?  I had considered re-doing the near ridge trees. @Forgiveness Thanks for the comment. I had to simplify the foreground.  I thought to go for a strong contrast with the river bed below, and this worked out basically.
    I've been watching that Michael James Smith guy.  I think I'll re-do the trees, both individual and on the near slope.
  • @Gary_Heath
    The trees 🌲 on the near ridge. 
    To me , they have that ‘lollipop’ look. 
    Just my personal view. 
    The rest is awesome , though. 
  • @Hilary No, you are absolutely right.  I'll do them again.
  • edited November 2

    So, I re-worked it.  I'm not sure it's hugely better.  In particular, I'm wondering if I went the right way in terms of temperature...  Would be interested in any comments you may have. Thanks for looking as always.
  • I think this is better. @Gary_Heath. I get the feeling of wooded mountain ridges now and the clouds read better.  :)
  • @tassieguy Thank you for commenting and I'm glad you're getting a better feeling.  I did adjust the clouds and interesting that you noticed that :)
  • edited November 2
    I forgot to mention that it's a fascinating composition. The squarish format is suited to bringing out the abstract formal elements like the strong diagonal that runs from top right to lower left. This particular composition fits nicely with Golden Mean diagonals. I don't know whether you intended that but it reinforces and stabilizes the composition in this painting.

  • edited November 4
    I have a feel for angles from photography @tassieguy .  When I selected this subject, I did see the angles.  It's hard to discern from the photos, but I cropped in from the right to fit the scene into the more square format. That small adjustment made a big difference.  I should say that I had a squarish canvas laying around and just matched the subject to fit, as prosaic as that sounds.  The other thing I liked about this subject was the strong counterchange around the central focal point.  However, the (any) central focal point must be painted perfectly for the painting to work, and it's perhaps where this one falls down.  Hard to say. 
  • This looks great.  I do get a feeling of viewing from above.  I like the wispy clouds below too.
  • edited November 3
    @GTO Thanks.  I also liked the novel view, from Route 8 overlooking the upper Taroko Gorge in north-eastern Taiwan.  I was standing at about 7000 ft.  (The road climbs to 10,744 feet at it's highest elevation.)
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