Evening - 18" X 24" - OOC

I painted a sketch of this once before but thought I'd have another go at it on a slightly larger scale and in a slightly higher key. This is a pretty awful photo taken at night with my phone but it gives an idea of the painting. I'll take a better photo outside  in daylight with my camera tomorrow, weather permitting.

I took the reference photo out of the window of a friend's car as we were driving along and I cropped it to improve the composition. Not sure why I was drawn to it. Something about the wan colours of an evening in autumn - the grass is still dry from summer but there's a chill in the air and, to me,  there something slightly sad about it. 

Anyway, it's not very big and I painted if loosely in just two sessions - about 12 hours all up, which is super fast for me. There's still a bit to do on it but I got the canvas covered tonight so thought I'd ask for feedback.

Thanks for looking and commenting.  :)




  • I like the balance of colors and style. The liveliness of the green crowns of trees. it turns out great!
  • This is wonderful @tassieguy.  I love the composition and muted colors.  Really conveys a darker day and coolness in the air.  Brilliant!
  • I think the tree in the far right is the sad element.  That combined with the clouds and non-distinct time of day. 
    I can see based on your brush strokes how fast you painted this. Long brush strokes in the foreground and fanning for the background and  sky.  
  • edited July 24
    Thanks, @A_Time_To_Paint and @GTO.  

    Here's a photo taken outside in daylight. Not sure it's any better. Very dull gray day here with flat light so subtleties are not picked up by the camera.  I tried to make some adjustments post exposure in Affinity Photo but probably made it worse, lol.

  • I really like your looseness yet It does still have a feel of your larger works. If feels tranquil  :)@tassieguy
  • Really nice. It has a somewhat melancholic feel but works very well. It feels a bit more impressionistic than some of your other paintings but this is not a bad thing :)
  • I think the values are a bit flat, no doubt on account of it being a dull day, and so you're not getting that variation in value masses that would make the picture more satisfying to look at; just being critical I actually really like it.
  • Thanks, @Gary_Heath.  Yes, it looks a bit flat. I think on a sunny day  I can get a better photo that will bring out more of the nuances in values and the brushwork.  :)
  • Like it allot @tassieguy . The soft and subdued tones create a kind of melancholy mood that gives me an opportunity to quietly wander through the field to the gently swaying trees in the distance. I think you did a good job creating a landscape that is true to life. There are many days that the sun is not casting dramatic shadows and highlighting beautiful colors. This painting successfully whisper's introspection.  
  • i like the muted colors @tassieguy. It's a nice painting. It reminds me of some Russian landscapes :)
  • @tassieguy

    In the same way one might write a short story adapted from a poem...

    This piece is an adaptation of what was posted here:


    Sometimes I prefer the detail, clarity, concreteness, and complexity of a short story, sometimes the sheer poetry of something simple, profound, and mysterious is sublime.

    I'm sure a great number of your customers will like the brighter more detailed piece.  To my eye, it is a great painting, but has none of the magic of your smaller piece, and whose magic is priceless IMHO.
  • Good work and a bit of a departure form your usual stuff @tassieguy.

    Definitely has a mood about it 

  • Really beautiful work.  Love the muted colors.  It does look chilly to stand in the field and can almost hear the grass gently blowing in a breeze.  Should the distant trees/hills have more atmospheric perspective?  I love this painting and would bet it was fun to do with the beautiful looser brushstroke.
  • Thanks, @MichaelD and @A_Time_To_Paint. This was a quicky and a bit experimental and so it's not surprising that it looks different from my larger, more carefully considered paintings. But as @CBG mentioned in the thread on my previous painting of the view from the mountain, there's nothing wrong with trying different things now and again. But my next one will be in my usual style.  :)
  • I'm waiting for better photo. ;)
  • edited July 25
    Colour-wise, this isn't much good either but it has more of the softness of the actual painting. But I think I'll leave it now.

     Not every painting is going to work. I'm onto the next one already. :)

  • It's definitely stronger in depth than the first version you did. There's a real robustness to the parcel of grassy land reaching back and constricting through that opening before spreading out again behind the trees that emphasises the distance. Somehow my mental picture of the composition is a bit like a sideways H lying on the ground with the hills being the far line. I love that colour in the hills - like the payoff at the end of travelling back. It's surprising yet so correct. It promises forest and a different atmosphere.
  • Thanks, @Abstraction. I find my smaller paintings are sometimes less successful than my bigger works. I'm not sure why this is so. I guess I've just gotten used to doing things on a big scale. I should practice doing more of these smaller sketches/studies in just one session, instead of two as I did here. I should practice on smaller canvases and just focus on getting form and value right and getting the main masses in without fussing over detail. I think that's where I went wrong with this one. It should have been done in one session and painted broadly with big brushes a la the Australian tonalists.  :)
  • I'm a dreadful reader when it comes to detail - I didn't take in the size. I think you're being a little hard. It's by anyone's token a very successful smaller painting, I would be very happy with it. It's a relatively high key scene (mid-tones upwards) in an overcast sky which tells a quieter story. You've successfully held that brightness in the sky in your values (also emphasised by the impressionistic breaking of light through that tall eucalypt captured in simple brushstrokes - I love that) and the controlled atmospheric perspective suggests southern Australian light and our subdued bush colours. It delivers a balance of real detail and suggested detail and air hanging in-between. We paint light? We also paint air. And then that counter-intuitive cobalt teal (or something a bit darker) across the hills almost hums.
  • Thanks for your detailed comments, @Abstraction. Much appreciated.  :)
  • @tassieguy I love the melancholic feel of this painting. I’m so drawn to the muted but warm tones. To me, when you are drawn to stare for a long time at a beautiful painting like this, it’s all you need to know. 
    Thanks for sharing !
  • the mood of this painting tugs at the heart strings... melancholic feel that others say here too....i personally love watching these late sunset moments, the post-sunset calm (before its night).. reminds me of a poem we studied in school about a bird's singing during this time.. ode to a skylark,, or something similar...
  • Hmmmm.

    I fully respect you as an artist and have learned a lot from you.

    I believe that you post here to help and be helped from the community. Not just be told all is rosy.

    This is a trial piece for a new way of working for you that is a brilliant way to tackle life.

    This half is a development of your style. It works as a painting in its own right.

    The main tree is an interaction between a solid form and light that is new and works. You've created a web with layered colour and form that is really special. One can see through without being given photo detail. It's success is contrasted with the weak, feathery tree to the left.

    The darker foreground sky is new and works with the lighter horizon. I think you could have increased the contrast  between the two and added a luminance from the hidden sun to the front dark cloud.

    Your trademark blue hill is good. There is a part of me that says it's a bit hard edged and mono-tonal. There's a tiny part where there's two blue tones that beg to be developed  further.

    The yellow grass is very mono-tonal. This may be 100% accurate but it is dull as a viewer. Would a lighter splash in the distance add interest and let the viewer imagine a break in the clouds?

    This half is a bit... bland? The trees on the left are more solid and small. I don't get the impact and interaction with the light compared to the big tree. The meadow disappearing behind the line of trees works but could have been incorporated into the first half. I do like the two horizontal lines of green that suggest meadows. Generally, I'd crop this (ouch!)

    Does all this come across as harsh, judgemental or just pretentious? Probably.  On this occasion and for you,  I think that's better than keeping quiet. Also most of it is directed inward, at how I should not be hogtied by the photo, focus on creating the best painting for the viewer.

    Hopefully there are a couple of points that may help you as you have helped others.

    Cheers, Owen
  • edited July 28
    Thanks for all that. @heartofengland. I really do appreciate you taking the time to analyze the painting and provide detailed comments. I don't find honest criticism at all problematic. I value it above all else. I need it. Even members who rarely or never post their own can have useful things to say about our work. There is nothing pretentious or judgmental in your words. I agree with much of what you said, although I'm happy with the composition and would not change that.

     You rightly picked up that this was a new way of doing things for me. It is small and was done in just two sessions. It was an experiment in getting things down quickly without the attention to detail that I normally put into my larger works. However, there is still too much detail. What it has taught me is that the smaller the work, and the quicker I intend to execute it, the more thought I will need to put into it before I start to paint. The other thing that this one reinforced for me was the need to either paint these small ones en plein air or have a very good reference photo. The photo I had was small and shot from the window of a moving car with my phone. It was blurred and what detail there is in the foreground grass I had to invent. I'm not very good at that. This was not a work intended for sale.  It was a learning piece. And I learned some things. So, in that sense, it was a success. I questioned whether to post it here but, on reflection, I concluded that we should post our not-entirely-successful work as well as our best pieces if we really want criticism that will help us improve.

    So, thanks again, Owen.

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