Thoughts on these photos from The Mountain.

As regulars here are probably aware by now, I'm doing a series on The Mountain here in Hobart. I've got six paintings I'm satisfied with so far but they are mostly close ups of rocks and vegetation so I want to do something with a bit more distance. Do folks think any of these three photos might be good reference material. I haven't done anything with them in the image editor yet except a bit of cropping. I'd be very happy to get people's thoughts and suggestions on them. I've had to reduce their sizes drastically so the site would accept them but they give a general idea. These were taken in summer. It's all snow covered now and I want to go back up there to get more material with snow but the road is closed because of the snow. While waiting for it to be cleared I'm exploring the possibilities of these photos that I took in summer.

1. Track Down to The Springs Carpark

2. A wider view:

3. South Summit with The Channel in the distance

The first one I like because of the drama of the light on the rocky ridge in the middle distance against the blue shadows of the clouds on the forest down below. And I like the way the track drops down towards the center of the picture. But I'm not sure about the composition. I might have to move things around a bit. Thoughts?

I like the horizontal format of the second one with the clouds hanging low overhead and the way the blue cloud shadows fall across the hills below. But, again, would value input re the composition. I worry it might be a bit boring.

The third one I feel the least sure about. I like the sky but I think I'll probably need to crop and/or darken the foreground because there's a lot of detail there that detracts from the stuff in the distance which I like.

I'd really value any input folks here could give on these three photos. 

I've already started a study for first one using the photo on my tablet as as reference (@Roxy's idea of magnets works great in holding the tablet to the canvas) but it's early days and changes are still possible so if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.


Rob :)


  • #1 is your best.  It has the large rocks the light and a distant view.  It checks all the boxes.
    #2 has a problem with balance on the left compositionally.
    #3 might work if you cropped it in a square format cutting off some on the left and right.  The dirt path would be what leads you into it.
  • Thanks, @GTO. That's pretty much what I thought, too. I'm glad I started on #1.  :)
  • I quite like the 3rd one, but I agree that the 1st is the best choice.
  • BTW: If you try Haze removal in Affinity (This is probably too strong below) you can get more info from the background:

  • I think you are on the right track.  (Disclaimer: any puns are serendipitous)!
  • Thanks, @Richard_P and @toujours:)

    I didn't know there was such a thing in Affinity, Richard.  It certainly cleared the haze. I'll check it out. But I sort of like the haziness of the distance so if I use it I'll just remove it a little.

  • edited July 2021
    I should add that I'm using my tablet attached to the canvas using @Roxy 's magnet idea for this painting. It works a treat. Because the colour on the screen is so much more nuanced and true to life than prints I haven't followed my usual practice of making on site colour notes so I'm not sure how this is going to go. I did a small study to see if I could mix the colours ok. That went well, so today I mixed a pile of colours and began work using the first photo above as a reference. It will be 32" X 24" which is a bit smaller than my usual size but I thought I'd better take it a bit easy as I try out the new system with the tablet. I'm amazed at how much more subtlety I can see on the screen than on a print. I have to resist the temptation to zoom in all the time by reminding myself that I am making a painting and not a replica of a photo. For practical and aesthetic reasons I won't be painting every pixel.  I'm trying to keep the background thin and hazy and will thicken up towards the foreground with richer colour and  impasto work for the rocks on the track. I'll post a photo when I have the canvas covered.  :)
  • Rob, can you post a photo of how you have the tablet attached?  I didn’t see that setup in Roxy’s thread.
  • No problem, @GTO. I'll take a pic and post it later. Well, maybe tomorrow (Thursday). It's past midnight already and I'm still working and I still have to scrape down my palette and dip and wrap my brushes.  :)
  • edited July 2021
    Well, it didn't take long so here ya go:

    1. Metal plate attached to back of tablet with double sided tape.

    2. Magnets at back of canvas that hold the metal plate and tablet. You can just see the top edge of the tablet above the top of the canvas.

    3. Tablet attached to front of canvas.

     The magnets and the tablet with metal plate hold each other to the canvas. As you can see getting paint on the screen is inevitable. It has a protective cover and cleans easily with a paper towel and maybe a  little OMS if it gets a bit dry.

    And that's it, @GTO. So simple yet so effective.  And cheap!  :)
  • That’s an interesting way to go. Does it pull or sag the canvas?  
    … Clean up; scrape, dip, etc.  it is mundane work.  
  • No, I haven't noticed it making the canvas sag, @GTO. My canvas is pretty strong and the tablet is not very heavy. If it does cause sagging I can just tap in some keys to tighten things up but I don't expect any problems. 

    And yes, I dread the end of every session. I hate cleaning up but I know that if I leave it I'll have to confront an even more uninviting mess before I start work the next day.  :/
  • I for one am looking forward to seeing the results of this tablet colour checking. :)

    Some tablet screens are better than others as well.

    BTW: Have you tried dipping your brush in oil rather than cleaning it off?

    If you are talking about your palette then I know some people use disposable palettes or clingfilm over the palette which they just pull off and throw away when done.
  • edited July 2021
    Thanks, @Richard_P.   :)

    I wipe the brushes on a paper towel then dip in walnut oil and wrap in plastic kitchen wrap. They never dry out and I'm ready to go next day.  I like my glass palette. It's large and I have my pure colours and mixes  around the side and do any secondary mixing on the inner areas. The inner area is what I scape down because the paint is thin and starts to dry overnight.  The big piles of paint I keep round the edges stay workable for days.  Paper palettes might make for a  quicker and easier clean-up but I couldn't use them in the same way as the big glass palette. But thanks for the thought.  :)
  • I too like #1 best. I also like @Richard_P’s tweak to bring out some more of the distant detail - it seemed a bit washed out in the original. 

    Good to hear the tablet trick is working for you. I’ve just started a new one using this method and am finding it excellent. I bought a protective screen cover and have started dabbing directly onto the screen, so my workflow is now more or less the same as when using a laminated photo. Though with more vibrant colors, and much less hassle. Hint. Attach a handle to your magnets and you’ll find them much easier to move!
  • edited July 2021
    Cheers, @Roxy. Yes, I must find some sort of handle for the magnets - they're a bitch to remove from the back of a big canvas while trying to hold the tablet at the front at the same time so it doesn't fall when the magnets are removed. A handle would help.  Fortunately, I only have to move it once a day because that is how long it takes me to paint an area the size of the tablet screen.   I hadn't thought of dabbing paint straight onto the screen. My tablet has a protective cover so there's no reason why I can't.  I'll give it a go instead of the scraps of  clear plastic I've been using. You have a sharper brain then mine,  Roxy.  :)
  • Rob

    Where will they site the KFC and Hungry Jacks Restaurants ?

    Proposed cable car installation on Mt Wellington.

  • edited July 2021
    I know, Denis. It's an appalling idea.  That damned communications tower should never have been sited there and a cable car and restaurant and other related paraphernalia (not to mention McDonalds) will ruin the place completely. And imagine those great pylons and cables climbing up past the Organ Pipes and the forest clearing that would have to happen to make way for them. It would trash the wilderness that is Tasmania's and Hobart's chief marketing advantage.   The value of such a place is enhanced when it takes a little effort to reach it. And a cable car is not needed. You can drive from the center of Hobart to the the mountain in half an hour. and the summit is only a short walk from the carpark. It's already crawling like an ant hill with tourists. Fortunately, the opposition to it has been such that it's unlikely to happen.  :)
  • Rob: Might be worth wrapping a glass palette in clingfilm and seeing if you like it or not.
  • I have found recently that by putting my glass palette in a plastic, sealed 'systema' container each night helps. 
     I have a bit of wood in there and every now and again, I put some drops of clove oil on one of the grain ends. 
     My paint is lasting longer and on occasion, I have put a wet brush in there and it is fine the next day.    However, I do try to clean off my brushes after working with them each day.
  • Thanks for your thoughts on this, @Richard_P and @toujours. I'll try covering the palette.  :)
  • I might use some aspects of 1 into 2 (lighting) and use the 2 as main composition with reduced left side.
  • Thanks, @KaustavM. If I do the second one after I finish the first which I'm doing now I'll certainly consider that.  :)
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