Italian coast view

Hello and happy New year to all of you!

I have finished a landscape that was as I thought simple enough, but I still managed to screw up on the foreground. Too busy. Just thinking if I have to stay away from the ref photo and put something different there.

It's 35x51 cm on a canvas board. Critiques welcome.

By the way, do you think that upper 40% of that can make a good view on its own? I need to make something even more simple and safe quickly on a larger format to give away.



  • I am also learning the ropes on landscape painting at the moment and it's very challenging subject matter!

    What I would say is that the mountain furthest into the background fades away from view very nicely since it's so light and desaturated, but [at least, in this photo] the water at the base of it looks about as vibrant as the water nearest to the viewer. the water back there would have an even stronger illusion of distance if it was also less saturated to match its mountain.

    It may also help to break up the line between the see and the flowering plants in the foreground, KaustavM did a painting of a tree that demonstrates what i mean [scroll up just a bit]

    also, my opinion on your cropping question is that i think it could definitely work!
    though it may be easier to paint a sky from a day with less uniform clouds.
  • @outremer
    I think your photo is a little out of focus. Hard to read.
  • Stephan, thank you for your feedback! Good point on water. The photo shows only blue colour closer to the background mountains, otherwise it's all same viridian. But you are right, I need to depart from the reference to show the perspective.

    Kingston, I will post a better photo later. That one above is taken with a phone.
  • Do you have your reference photo handy? It may help to compare the two! :))
  • Stephan, here it is:

  • @outremer, I've come back to look at this several times trying to figure out how to advise you. I should say first that the reference photo is not a very friendly one for a beginner. The light is problematic. The sky is almost uniformly overcast and yet we have this bright light hitting the line of surf which gives a bright white streak down the center of the picture while the rest of the scene is quite dark, especially the foreground, and this I find a bit disturbing.

    You could play with the foreground in Photoshop or another image editor to see if you can get some light in there. That might help. But I would have lopped off the bottom half of the picture because, although the plants are interesting, it's very dark there and their form doesn't tie in with the upper portions of the scene so they don't make a pleasing composition for me. 

    I would have cropped it something like this:

    This is simpler and less complicated which is what you need when first starting out with landscape.

    Still, considering the reference photo, you did quite a good job, particularly with the top section - the sky and distant mountains. You have some nice atmospheric perspective happening up there. You could lower the chroma there further to make the hills on the horizon bluer/grayer so they recede more. Same with the water. The blue you have used for the water is a bit too bright and high in chroma and is an unhappy contrast with the green you have used for the hillside.  You could consider graying the green off a bit using a touch of its complementary. red. You could also liven up the sky a bit so that the clouds contribute something to the composition.

    I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with all this. Keep going. You obviously have an eye for a beautiful landscape.  :)
  • @tassieguy, thank you! All valid points, especially about the light. I was really fooled by it and made that dark green patch as second plane after foreground to look like a ridge. But that is the same slope with those farther away, only difference in lighting. 

    Today I started the upper part of it on a larger format, just like you and Stephan cropped. We'll see how it works. Right now it's just an underlayer to guide myself.
  • Cheers, @outremer. I look forward to seeing the new version.

    Take it slow. Colour check against the photo and mix your values/colours before you start. This is essential. Otherwise it's too easy end up confused and in a flap and, once in that state, we start putting wrong colours everywhere. Treat these early works as learning pieces. Just follow Mark's method and you can't go wrong. You'll be amazed at how quickly you progress.  :)
  • Just one of several possibilities I see. A town clinging to the cliff. The sky actually has some sky drama. There wasn't enough info in the lights to cure the whites from burning out. The less of the sky the better not enough going on. We see the peek a boo light on the town and the water.

  • Another. No a trace of man. Two strong shapes.

  • @tassieguy, thank you! It will take me some time to finish the second one as I will be away from my brushes for a few weeks, unplanned. Actually I am not following the DMP method, my goal is to be less exact and more loose with landscapes.

    @KingstonFineArt, thank you, really good input! Your first crop makes sense, and I have another photo with a village being closer. Different village, seen looking back once we hiked to the one on the photo above. And I will think about the second crop too.

    Thanks again everyone, your feedback is really helpful!
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