CLEFT - 42" X 42" - OOC

edited October 13 in Post Your Paintings
This is the latest in my "Mountain" series. It's big and has taken me nearly three weeks to get the canvas covered. Which I did tonight. So, I thought I'd ask for feedback. 

This photo was taken at night with my phone. It's easier than getting the camera out but I'll take another picture with the camera tomorrow outside in daylight so that  the colour and detail shows up more accurately. .

I find the rock formations up on the mountain here fascinating. These are big rocks and I've tried to make them look as realistic as possible. I hope I've succeeded. Click "Open in new tab" and Zoom in so you can see it better.

All comments/critiques/ suggestions very welcome.

Thanks for looking and commenting.  :)




  • I wish I could see this in person.  Unbelievable.
  • edited October 13
    Thanks, @oilpainter1950. So glad you think it works. It's not a conventionally pretty picture and I was worried that the composition  and subject matter might be a bit stark but, then, that's what I liked about it.  And the curves/arcs that echo throughout the painting.   :)

    (Edited for spelling}
  • It’s a bit difficult to determine the scale of these but they do have a mammoth feel to them.  I like the overcast look.   It is still bright enough to avoid a gloomy feeling.  It has more of a contemplative “not-in-a-hurry” feel.
  • Unbelievably realistic looking rocks. Amazing composition and i agree with GTO - it has some relaxation effect. Congratulations on finishing it :)
  • Hey, I find it very realistic, I love the composition! The textures are super nicely done, I was asking myself whether it was the original photo for a minute. Congrats.
  • As oilpainter said i wish i could see your paintings in person. you've got everything so right it looks extremely realistic (as usual) funny enough when you look at a small photo of the painting it looks like a picture. It's lovely when u enlarge it and can see all the small dabs of paint, mark after mark after mark.
  • Thanks very much for your comments, @oilpainter1950, @GTO, @ArtGal, @adriani and @Marinos_88.  Much appreciated.  I'm very glad folks think that the painting works.  :)
  • A bigger photo taken outside with camera.

  • This is unbelievable.  

    The first photo blew me away.  The second photo was hyper-realistic.

    YES the arcs work and the green brush in front is a great touch.

    Always exciting to see another painting of yours. 

    I can't imagine what could be done to make this better.
  • Thanks very much, @allforChrist. Much appreciated.  :)
  • Brilliant! It definitely works..

    But all those teeny tiny lines, they make me wince with imagining the effort that goes into your work.  :o
  • Thanks, @Richard_P.  Glad you think it works.

    The memory of the work involved in placing a million little strokes makes me wince, too.  I won't be doing any more that size for this show. Maybe a couple of smaller ones that will allow me to paint more broadly. I've got another snow one in mind because my gallery director saw a couple of my snow pieces and really liked them and suggested I do more. If there's a lot of sky and a lot of snow it's relatively quick and easy compared to paintings like the one posted above. 

    Thanks again, Richard.  :)
  • Spring must be starting there soon, might not get much more snow to paint!
  • Yes, Richard. All the snow has gone already. Lucky I took a heap of pictures on all my winter visits to the mountain top.   :)
  • Richard_P said:
    But all those teeny tiny lines, they make me wince with imagining the effort that goes into your work.  :o
    What Richard said. These have a massive presence. This one is outstanding. 
  • Beautiful work @tassieguy.

    It has such presence. I can imagine if I was stood looking at your painting that I would be in as much awe as if I was actually at the scene.
  • edited October 14
    Thanks so much, @MichaelD. Much appreciated.  :)
    It's interesting that folks speak of the rocks as having "presence". When I'm in this landscape, looking up at these rocks, they do "feel" to me to have a "presence" as entities that inhabit the place.   I think that, in such places, I get a feel for what indigenous people may mean when they talk about natural features like Uluru as though they are beings with some sort of awareness. Beings who might not appreciate having millions of tourists crawling all over them. 
  • tassieguy said:
    Thanks so much, @MichaelD. Much appreciated.  :)
    It's interesting that folks speak of the rocks as having "presence". When I'm in this landscape, looking up at these rocks, they do "feel" to me to have a "presence" as entities that inhabit the place.   I think that, in such places, I get a feel for what indigenous people may mean when they talk about natural features like Uluru as though they are beings with some sort of awareness. Beings who might not appreciate having millions of tourists crawling all over them. 
    In a way, if you think about it, they are living things; with the number of organisms, flora and fauna they house.  
    Having grown up near the Hawksbury River in Sydney sandstone country, my childhood was spent climbing the boulders and caves on our property.   I always had a feeling of companionship even though I played amongst them on my own.

    Shades of Picnic at Hanging Rock?
  • I think this is great, @tassieguy and I love the feeling of immensity that it evokes.  Agree with others that it must be quite awe inspiring to view this, and the others in this series in person. I also always enjoy zooming in to look at the brush work. Just three weeks to get the canvas covered seems pretty impressive to me :) 
  • edited October 14
    Thanks very much, @Bucky. Much appreciated. I'm happy you feel the immensity of the rocks.

    And, yes. I guess three weeks doesn't sound long. But it feels long when you're standing at the easel for 10 - 12 hours a day, seven days a week.  But I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing at my age. :)
  • edited October 14
    BTW, folks, the second picture, taken with my camera outside in daylight,  is more accurate color-wise and captures a lot more detail. So if you want to zoom in, zoom in on the second one.  Also, in the first one, taken at night with my phone, there's glare at the top which causes the bushes at top left to look flat and washed out.  :)
  • Thanks you for your comment, @toujours.
  • @tassieguy

    How do you decide what to paint?  How to crop?  Do you have any principles or guidelines or patterns you tend to follow when composing a scene for painting it?
  • edited October 17
    Hi, @CBG.

    No, I don't have any principles or guidelines or patterns I tend to follow when composing a scene. When a scene interests me I try to discover what it is in the scene that sparks my aesthetic interest and, once I find it, I try to accentuate it. It's almost always primarily about the big shapes.  I arrive at a final  composition with intuitive sketches and/or by cropping a photo reference so that the  composition seems to work better. And  when I do this, I often notice secondary details that I might also accentuate to reinforce the overall composition.

    For example, in this scene, I loved the massive arc formed by the top of the big rock at upper right, and I found echoes of this arc all throughout the scene. For example, the arcs formed by the tops of the bushes and those within the massive rock itself where exfoliation has caused semicircular plates of rock to fall away leaving arcuate indentations. When this sort of thing sets up resonances throughout a scene I find it very appealing. I try to subtly accentuate these. 

     I always look for this sort of thing when I study great paintings in museums.  It's often there but hard to spot. 

    Sometimes, when there's a lot about a scene that I really like but I can't get the composition to work, I'll delve into dynamic symmetry and  the Golden Mean using an app like @Roxy's to give me hints about how the whole thing should be arranged and this then gives me hints as to how to slightly adjust details to reinforce the overall composition.

    So, no, there's no precise formula. I just have to work at it until I come up with something that seems to work.  Sometimes it doesn't work even though I thought it might on a big scale.  Then I end up with a failure.  :/  But it works often enough to make the process worthwhile.  :)
  • @tassieguy

    Echos are such a wonderful thing to find in a piece.  The first time echos really hit me was seeing Caspar David Friedrich's Winter Landscape.

    Thank you for sharing your process! 
  • No problem, @CBG

    The painting by CDF  you linked to illustrates very well what I mean by "echoes".  :)
  • Very realistic, beautiful work.  You must have the patience of a saint with all that delicious, tiny, detailed brushwork.  It's hard to believe it is an actual painting.  Looks more like a photograph.
  • Thank you, @A_Time_To_Paint. I'm glad it looks realistic.

    The small photos we are able to post here do not give a good idea of a large paining.  When it is seen in the flesh it is obvious that it is a painting because the brushwork and texture are very apparent and, up close, it's those that I want viewers to enjoy.  From a long distance I want it to look very realistic and  I'm pleased that it does so, so thanks again.  :)
  • edited October 16
    Really like it.  Nicely composed: simple and well balanced.  It's hits you.  Nice job on the vegetation and varied rock texture.  What's not to like?  A winner!  Good photo, too :)
  • Thanks very much, @Gary_Heath. Much appreciated.  :)
  • You can just feel it !
    amazingly done . It looks super real to me .
  • I understand why you have that hesitation - it's an unusual composition - but it certainly isn't warranted. What you felt when you took the picture is what I think we feel when we see it. The solidity, the texture, the feel of the cold day in the sky draping greys over the rocks, the sprays of native vegetation and colour, the shift in focus to pull our eyes in into the foreground, those granular details of cracks that lead the eyes around and across the dimensional form of the rocks. It feels safe. Like a place you'd like to rest or hide - but wonder what's on the other side. There is a meandering line of vision like a reverse 's' that leads you through the gaps in the rocks. And something akin to fibonaci spirals - one in the bottom 2/3 starting lower left. I don't know but I'm so glad you made it big. The subject deserves it.
  • Thanks very much for taking the time to give such detailed comments, @Abstraction.  I really appreciate it that you find things in the painting that I had in mind when composing it.   :)
  • So much of form with such subtle value shifts in the rocks... which in my opinion is such a difficult task.. even the temperature shifts are so subtle.... truly remarkable @tassieguy :o 
    Also i remember how perfectly you had painted the eucalyptus foliage, but the foliage here is a totally new level!.. i wish you would shoot a video for us ( or me) for a small, tiny part of a foliage, of how you go about it. i keep away from landscapes just out of this fear of painting foliage. It always turns out goopy big masses, or it doesnt have a sense of distance... let alone looking like a particular tree variant.
  • edited 3:45PM
    Thanks so much, @anwesha, for your kind comments.   :)

    When it comes to foliage, I try not to overthink things. It really boils down to colour mixing and getting everything in the right place. I just have to have faith that if I put a brushstroke of the right shape and of the correct value and colour in just the right place it will look right, and that all the individual brushstrokes together will reveal the big picture. I don't paint rocks or bushes. I just reproduce what I see in each area of a scene. I don't do an under-drawing, but when a picture is very large and has complex areas of foliage, for example, I will use grids to help me get everything in the right place. It's a laborious and often tedious process but, if it means I end up with a realistic landscape, I feel it's worth the effort. 

    I don't understand why you feel so apprehensive about landscapes. We know that you can draw like an old master - your nudes are exquisite. And many landscapes you have done are superb - the castle/chateau by the lake, for example.  Don't worry about foliage. Don't paint it. Just paint what you see and the foliage will reveal itself. :)
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