Would this work as a big painting?

I'm at a bit of a loose end painting-wise. I need to get out and get more reference material.  However, I took this photo from our living-room window a few years back when we were living on the farm. I cropped it and filed it away thinking I'd come back to it some day. Well, some day might have arrived. I love the (apparent) simplicity of it. However, the subtlety in the sky and clouds and the detail in the water will take some work. 

Before I start on it, I was hoping to get some feedback as to whether folks think it could make a good painting. Up close, I'm thinking it should be very realistic. But it will be very big, so try to imagine the size such that you can't see the whole painting  in one glance if your standing less than a couple of meters from it. 

I envisage it being maybe 48" X 42" or 123cm X 107cm - I have some stretcher bars this size. I imagine it will take about three weeks to paint. I like the blues and grays but could play around with the color a bit if folks don't think it works as it is. I really like the design, too,  but I'm open to suggestions re further cropping. 

If most folks think it's a complete non-starter it will go from the "maybe" pile to in the "rejected" pile. 

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions you can offer.  :)

Rob




Comments

  • I like the subtle strat in some of the cloud formations.  I like the patches of sky.  The hills are a good height.

    My worry is the darkness of the water.   It could make for a very sombre or moody work, and in your hands I am sure it would.  The value changes in the water are quite subtle.

    Overall, I think it works, but will be interested how you handle the water.   Will you add some reflected blues from the patches of sky, or faithfully recreate what is in the photo?

    Carry on....
  • Rob

    Pleasant photo but I doubt the subtlety and simplicity will carry the day in a hectare size painting. A landscape needs a focus and needs a graphic narrative that tells me what the artist is saying in paint.
    The view from the farm window adds some context. Perhaps add a window frame and a cat (or something) sitting on the sill. Get some more yachts out there on the water. Get some thumbnails going.

    Denis

  • edited January 22
    Thanks, @toujours. Much appreciated.

     I think I could add a few flecks of sky color to the ripples. I'd play around with it in my photo editor first to see how it would look. On the other hand, I would want to keep the rather somber, moody feel - it was early evening in autumn, the air was was still but with a bit of a chill to it. It had that slightly sad feeling that comes when you realize the warm days are over and the chill will soon settle in. 

    I'll wait a bit before deciding to start it  to see if i get any more feedback.

     Thanks again, @toujours. Very helpful.  :)
  • edited January 22
    Thanks, @dencal. I agree, it's all a bit spare, sort of empty. I could add some more yachts, some circling birds and a shaft of late afternoon sunshine lighting a patch of water. It would be more dramatic. But I think the spareness is partly why I like it. Modern landscapes sometimes play on emptiness - the focus is on broad color fields that you can lose yourself in -  a la Rothko.  I'll find some examples and post them. 

    Thanks for the feedback, Denis. I'll have play in Affinity Photo and try adding a few things as you suggested. :)
  • What about something like this?


  • CBGCBG -
    edited January 22
    @tassieguy

    IMHO you have a diamond in the rough here with this reference.  

    Will it work large format?

    Absolutely. 

    Mark Carder likes Rothko’s work. (Edit: Funny, I just saw you also mentioned Rothko!) As incredible as that sounds, he says that in a video, and my theory is that those works only work because of their vast size and their playing on human beings’ innate sense of sky, terrain, vista, abode (window roof balcony) essentially the environment or horizontals our surrounding provide.  This depends on and is carried by the large value masses.

    Horizontal Value masses dividing regions on a large canvas … boom you are already having an impact.

    Thats 1 good reason to do this and do it big.  

    Note:  As an artist with omnipotence over the canvas I suggest you choose to take the mountains and the water into lower keys of value with the mountains noticeably darker, and have the average key of the sky lighter.  I’d also play with the level  of the horizon or how far those curves clouds come up.  The result will be large contrasting value masses that provide a compelling vista structure on which you build your other forms.

    Number 2:  But oh my the FORMs!  Your landscape already made them for you!  The rhythmical undulating curves of the mountains echo the round sharp edged clouds.  It almost defies belief, and although I was never much of a fan of the Group of Seven (Canadian artists who did landscapes in different styles) this reference of yours is showing me a little bit of what they saw.  That interplay between the curvy almost cartoon or illustrated clouds and the mountains is what carries the eye’s focus, the fuzzier chaotic no focus in the upper clouds and the lower water perfectly frame and direct attention to the middle… and that lack of interest in those areas does not detract from the whole, the sense of vista, which is their only purpose (aside from leading the eye back to the middle bands of interest… I’d even suggest a fall off of value and saturation towards the top and bottom of the painting.)

    Long story short I think this can work and work well for a number of different reasons and on a number of different levels of viewer experience.

    IMHO

    wishing you well and good painting
    CBG
  • Thanks, @Richard_P. :)

    Yes, I like that idea. I can see how making the colors more vibrant could make it more interesting. I'll play around with your idea in Affinity Photo. I'll try adjusting the color and white balance and raising the vibrance and saturation just enough to liven it up but still keep the colors looking real. 
  • @tassieguy

    I do wonder how does one do a study at the right scale so as to really get what the impact will be?  Bringing a little work right to one’s face doesn’t quite give the same experience.  I suppose a projector could do it, or a sufficiently wall mounted flat TV used as a monitor… you could also decide on the average value mass colors (and alternatives) and go ahead and paint (using color matched wall paint) on a well lit wall!  The last is probably the cheapest… heh going big sounds like an adventure!
    tassieguy
  • Thanks, @CBG

    You have a strong innate sense of design and you see in it the things I see. My inclination is to play with the suggestions others have kindly given but not to change things too much. I want to keep that Rothko thing we both see and the size that makes his paintings work. And I like your idea of bringing the mountains and water down in key.

    What I like most about this reference is the forms - they way the clouds sort of slot together and echo the shape of the mountains. And that wee sailboat out there alone in the vastness. 

    Not sure I'll be able to pull it off but thanks again for your input, CBG.  :)
    CBG
  • edited January 22
    Cheers, @CBG. Yes, I did think about doing a smaller study first, but small just wouldn't tell me what I need to know. I want the viewer to lose themselves in it but small won't show me if that will happen. I don't have a projector or big flat TV so I just have to imagine how the finished big painting is going to feel to me and other beings who are about my size.  :)
  • I'm not qualified to answer your original question. It is a development of your sparse sources which is pleasing.

    Do you ever ask your gallery for guidance on these sort of questions?
  • edited January 23
    Thanks, @heartofengland. You're as qualified as anyone.

    Galleries sell art. The artists have to do the art bit. That's why we're lucky to have DMP where artists help each other. Which they often do here in regard to reference photos. Over my years on DMP I've done my best to chip in when others have requested feedback on still life setups and reference photos and I've been pleased  to do so. There's no other place on the web like DMP when to comes to getting real time feedback on all art related questions.
  • I think the sort of changes @Richard_P indicated would make it work.
  • Thanks, @GTO.  I'm playing with the colors as per Richard's suggestion.  :)
  • tassieguy said:
    Thanks, @GTO.  I'm playing with the colors as per Richard's suggestion.  :)
    I clicked on a suggested Youtube video today and watched the start of a video called "John MacDonald Mastering values".   I do not know if it will be any good or have useful ideas not mentioned elsewhere.  However, on the subject of secondary values, he put up 3 different value ideas for the same photo and run through them,   It was an interesting exercise.  Perhaps this is what you already are planning....?
  • Thanks, @toujours. I'll have a look at that video.  :)
  • Rob

    The other thing that comes to mind is the value proposition for a potential buyer.
    Such a product would be priced north of 6k. How much would a buyer be prepared to pay for spare simplicity and subtlety? However, it will look good under the bed 😱
  • edited January 23
    Cheers, @dencal.

    I think that, if I can make it work, it will sell. It's never ceases to amaze me how much wealthy buyers will pay for minimalist art.

    I'm thinking that this will be the sort of piece that would suit a large modern house with lots of empty wall space. That's how I envisage it - on a vast white wall in an uncluttered, well lit space.  :)
  • CBGCBG -
    edited January 23
    @tassieguy

    Excellent… start a new art movement… landscape minimalist realism.

     :) 
    tassieguy
  • I haven't yet decided if or when I'll paint the above scene.  I'm still going through my "maybe" pile of references. Here's another view of the same stretch of water that's been in my "maybe" pile for a few years. It's a sliver of land called The Neck that connects North and South Bruny Islands in southern Tasmania. Very minimalist. I like the subtle warm and cool grays that, to me,  have a nacreous look.

    Again, I think it would need to be big.

    I'd be interested to get other's thoughts on it. Is it too minimalist to qualify as realism? 

     
  • edited January 23
    Rob, I had previous failure experience with sandwich image like this, where you have a pile up of horizontal lines. I was traumatized by the result. I think IMHO that their are not enough interesting shapes in the last one, too much pile of horizontals, kind of big mac style, despite beautiful colors and view.
    In the first one same problem of horizontal piles but reduced because more shapes in the sky. I think it could be ok with accentuated perspective in the closest sky, add some more angle maybe? I would have liked a foreground shore or something to break up the horizontals. I don't see it as too much simplicity, but rather too much unity (horizontals, soft, distants), lacks variety of shapes, edges direction and type). There can be simple shape elegant in their diversity.
    Hope I'm not putting you off if you felt like this one the one! please feel free to disregard my opinion :)



    tassieguy
  • CBGCBG -
    edited January 23
    @tassieguy


    Qualify shhhmalify...  categories, labels, taxonomy...  art itself is beyond all of these no matter how tempted we are to limit ourselves.


    Do you enjoy looking at/experience this scene?

    Is it something you would find interesting/rewarding to paint (even if only for the end result)?

    Is it something someone else (anyone else) would like/love to look at/experience and/or own as a painting?


    The truthful answer to this last question is almost definitely "absolutely" (esp. for anyone who has seen and experienced that in person and would like to take a bit of that home).

     :) 




    tassieguy
  • Have not read the other comments yet as am pushed for time.  My first instinct is for you to add the stump of an old tree in the water towards the front, or a big old branch.   Something tangible and solid.
    tassieguy
  • I think “The Neck” could also work if values and colors are adjusted as well.   That one does have a more ethereal feeling.
    tassieguy
  • edited January 24
    Thanks, @adridri, @CBG, @toujours and @GTO:)

    To make this work as realism I think the colors and the drawing will need to be absolutely perfect.  However, like the previous one, I think it could work as an almost abstract, minimalist painting in which the surface is emphasized rather than trying too hard create spatial depth. The interest would be in the colors, he shapes and the texture of the paint.

    Thanks again folks for your input.  :)
  • Thanks, @heartofengland. You're as qualified as anyone.

    Okay, after thinking, hard...

    1. Scale has its own power. It commands attention. Scene 1 has enough to hold that attention, scene 2 is too bland 

    2. I've come to distrust colour in photos. Pink sunsets become yellow, jade leaves become grey... I think @Richard_P treatment is the path to follow. The sky is the star.

    3. Your style is nature cropped. No obvious framing devices eg windows, benches etc. For this reason I disagree with @dencal about the cat etc.

    4. Keep the single sail. It gives an aha! moment and storyline when found without becoming a picture about yachts.

    5. Has the potential for a series based on different skies, boating activity etc

    6. I will ask for 10% comission but settle for 4%😉
    tassieguy
  • Thanks very much, @heartofengland.

    You're right about color when it comes to printed photos. That's why I usually make color notes on-site in paint. If I  am unable to do that, then I use my tablet screen for color which is more accurate and richer than a printed photo. Scene 2 is a crop from a much larger photo which has detail in it that I might be able to include to add interest. I'll play around with it some more. Thanks again for your thoughts on these.  :)
  • I like this second photo more. Love the warmth of it. I think one should be able to paint anything if the mood takes you, however would you not find this too easy? Your paintings are usually highly detailed.
  • Thanks for you feedback on this, @dewald:)

    What I'd find hard about the second one is not the detail but the subtlety in the color and values. I'd have to paint from my tablet screen because I didn't make in-site color noted and a printed photo just wouldn't pick up those subtleties. And I'd have to match the colors perfectly. I couldn't do it on the wing so there would a lot of preparatory mixing would be involved. 
    dewald
  • @tassieguy Ah yes ok that makes sense. So its still a challenging task, just from a different perspective.

    tassieguy
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    @tassieguy, it's just an opinion, but no, this would be the least interesting scene you have painted, and doesn't employ your strengths as a portrayer of organic complexity.
  • edited January 27
    Thanks, @PaulB. Yes, I agree that it would be quite a change from my usual style and technique. There's just something about it that fascinates me. 
    I'll let it stew for a while longer before deciding on whether to do it. 
  • Here’s my take (=opinion)
    #1 To be honest I reckon that image could work - but is probably better suited to a different style to your normal approach. I can see a mostly abstract work, painted with 4in brushes and sweeping strokes. I’m not convinced it has enough drama for a detailed rendering to carry it.   

    #2 I like this one a lot, but then, I like Graeme Sydney. I’d be tempted to make the neck a bit more prominent.
  • edited January 29
    Thanks, @Roxy. Yes. I'd approach it differently. I bought some number 12 and 14 flat brushes for the sky. The only detail would be in the foreground water.

    The second one will be harder. I love what Graeme Sydney does with his wide vistas.  For example:

    Sunset Near Omarama by Grahame Sydney 1994

    Barrier 2 by Grahame Sydney 2007

    With both of the two references I posted I would try for this sort of look. 
    CBG
  • edited January 29
    @tassieguy Personally I like the first image, it has more drama than the rest, just my opinion. In my opinion, things to play with in the scene are 1) teal and subtle, sparingly use of complementary unsaturated orange. 2) The overall mood of the scene impacting with its soberness and serenity. 
    It's a beautiful yet challenging scene coz you have to play with a smaller range of values and that's what makes it special. It can create a mental impact on the viewer for sure. 

    I'd say, go for a big size only if you have a high-resolution copy, as in realism it's not possible to "create" the lost pixels when bloated. 
  • tassieguy said:
    Thanks, @Roxy. Yes. I'd approach it differently. I bought some number 12 and 14 flat brushes for the sky. The only detail would be in the foreground water.

    The second one will be harder. I love what Graeme Sydney does with his wide vistas.  For example:

    Sunset Near Omarama by Grahame Sydney 1994

    Barrier 2 by Grahame Sydney 2007

    With both of the two references I posted I would try for this sort of look. 

    Wow. 

    Good on Mr. Sydney! 

    I can only imagine how breathtaking being at those places was for him.  How exciting and serene, how majestic and timeless, how his soul was both humbled and expanded at once!  I understand why he might want to recreate those moments...  I myself would have loved to have been there, but in lieu of that I would love to stand in front of those works and have a taste of what it was like!  Alas I only have a tiny screen.

    Good on Mr. Sydney for having the courage and passion to even attempt to capture such things!

    Wow. 
    tassieguy
  • Thanks, @osiosbon. You suggestion re the " teal and subtle, sparingly use of complementary unsaturated orange" is spot on. :) 

     Thanks, @CBG. I've decided that I will paint both of them. I'm just finishing off a small one and after that, it's out with the canvas pliers to stretch those big canvases. :)
    CBG
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