Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Misty Mountains

Today I decided to do some texture work and try a rocky surface. After all, buildings and mountains have similar gritty surfaces, right? Ok, maybe that is a stretch.

As usual I suffered from my 1.5 hour mark slump. What is it about the base layer that frustrates me so much? I think I get too detailed too quickly and then have trouble working back in later. I ended up scrapping a few layers, going back with a completely flat non-opaque brush and laying out solid colors in shapes. To expedite things, I put the reference photo on a lower layer and got the gesture shape of the rocks. Is that cheating? It's probably cheating.

Here's the reference image:

"Ulsan Rock in Sorack Mountains" by miquitos
I didn't save the under-layer but it was essentially three tones (light, mid and dark) and very graphic looking, just to block out the shapes. After I did this I got rid of the reference image from the layers, there wasn't any more tracing. And when I say tracing, it's was really rough, not precise. Just to get a feel for the natural look of the rock. With only three hours for the painting, speed is important.

I learned my lesson from the painting a couple days ago and isolated foreground and background on separate layers. First I focused purely on the mountain:

There's a few layers in here and some texture from brushes and photographs.
Then on a separate layer with the mountain turned off I did the background. I didn't do anything where I knew the mountain would be because I didn't want to waste my time. Then I turned the foreground back on and started adding happy little trees. Eat your heart out, Bob Ross!!

More like gritty, gestury little trees.
I like adding plants to things. Maybe this is my weakness. Maybe I should come back to this same photograph and try hard to actually represent it as it is portrayed to push myself out of my comfort zone. But... given that I'm pretty new to digital painting I'm not sure I even have a comfort zone. So if adding plants makes me happy, for the moment I'll indulge that. So... more plants! Also mist:

Lookin' MOSSY.

Finally I went in with gradients and details to deal with the color and to up the contrast. I consider lighting the whole way through, not just at the end, but it's at the end that I really push the lighting to what I've been mentally picturing the whole way.

More blues, more clouds.
It looks all right to me. Not incredible, but decent. The photo has more subtlety. I feel like in my desire for contrast I tend to push things really far. It's not horrible, but I think it could use some refinement. Also the tree shapes feel sort of blocky and not as organic as I'd like. I'm nitpicking, but I think the subtle details is the difference between being good and being great so I'll keep trying.

One of the reasons I set a 3 hour deadline on my painting is actually stuff like this. There's always going to be something "wrong" with it, and if you don't cut yourself off and keep to a timeline ("Ok, running out of time, must move on now") I find I'll noodle something to death. The causes two problems: 1) it takes forever and 2) I usually end up hating the final product. Keeping things fast keeps me focused on the end result and prevents that crazy anal perfectionist I think every artist has inside of them from crippling me. Onwards!

No comments:

Post a Comment