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Landscape Demonstration(原文)

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landscape step 1

Now we will explore a totally different project. We will paint a landscape, actually a "riverscape". This time, the problem is much more difficult, because instead of static object models with controlled lighting, we will be painting outdoors; the lighting, clouds, water and boats will constantly change their positions and relationships. Thus, we will have to work fast to capture the scene. We must carefully plan how we will proceed so that unnecessary delays in trying to make decisions are avoided. Many artists find it practical to confine their out-door work to information sketches; they then develop the final painting in the studio, without undue time pressure.

The subject of my particular painting is a view of Hook Mountain on the Hudson River near my studio in Upper-Nyack-on-Hudson, New York. In fact, this painting became the basis for the winning design for a mural commission competition for the Friends of the Nyacks Foundation.

The scene was painted in late afternoon, on a day that threatened storms. The lighting changed rapidly. Dramatic clouds formed. When a ray of sunshine broke through these clouds, the entire scene became magical. Several sailing boats were scattered over the river, providing me with models for the boats in my composition.

As you work on a landscape painting, you realize that the artist chooses a very difficult task to reduce the towering heights of a mountain to a mere few inches of paper. Everything must be handled proportionately, so that the scale of the entire landscape is correctly perceived by the viewer.

For this painting, I washed over a base paper with a brilliant blue acrylic color. I plan to let much of the background show through the oil pastel painting, and thus the acrylic underpainting will be an integral part of the composition. Notice that I applied the blue wash quite flat, with complete coverage. The slight variation in surface, so necessary to avoid boredom, was achieved mainly by adjusting the direction of the brush strokes.

To reduce the brightness of this color, I cover over the painted paper with neutral gray oil pastel, 32C1 (Warm Gray). I color the whole paper with this gray to give me a more subdued blue to work with. I use short broad strokes, with the side of a one inch sized piece of oil pastel.

In this stage of the painting, we are concerned with establishing the major masses and simple forms. You must analyze, at this point, what is vital and essential to your expression of this scene, and not get carried away with the millions of details that nature presents to you. Rather than try for the impossible task of representing all details in a single painting, instead, try to extract and emphasize what moved you in the first place to paint the scene. In this particular case, the dramatic sky provides my creative focal interest.

Upon the specially prepared background, I begin with 38F1 (Cerulean Blue) to indicate the major composition of the painting. I sketch in the silhouette of the mountain and the level of the water, breaking the paper into general areas.

The challenge in this painting is to be able to portray the many textures of the water, the clouds, mountain, trees, sails, and so forth, all the while maintaining the unity of the view as a whole.

This is obviously not an easy challenge, and would require, one would think, a vast array of tones and colors. Yet even this complex scene can be successfully handled with the 25 color Introductory Set of Holbein Professional Oil Pastels. The special problems of using a limited palette were made up for by needing to carry only a small set of oil pastels, a drawing board and previously prepared paper onto the small boat from which I painted the scene.

II begin suggesting the lightest area of the sky with 13A4 (Light Scarlet). I roughly indicate the area where the sun breaks through the clouds. I use the side of the stick, which makes a more powerful, wide trace on the paper than the end would have done. I establish the light source and the direction of the rays that emanate from the clouds. With the same light scarlet 13A4, I indicate the reflected light on the water. I use very light strokes.

I use 38B1 (Cobalt Blue) to indicate the darker areas of the mountain. I apply this blue mainly with the broad side of the stick. I underpaint the entire area, which I will later express with greens. I also use 38B1 to suggest the dark lower portions of the clouds.

As you continue developing your own painting, you will begin to see some of the distinct advantages oil pastel has for the outdoor painter. The oil pastel surface is much less fragile than the unfixed soft pastel surface. You do not have to worry about an inadvertent brushing of the surface of the painting in progress.

Should that happen, irreparable damage will not result. You can work and rework the layers of oil pastel, using strong pressure on the oil pastel stick. You have plenty of opportunity to use scraping techniques and make major corrections.

I had decided, before painting this scene, to populate the river with boats of the late 19th Century -- side-wheeler steamers and skiffs. I thus was not going to paint the scene exactly as I saw it, but would instead observe today's riverboats for lighting effects and general color. I had done my research before going on location, and carried several sketches of the different boats I wanted in my picture. Combining my observations of today's boats with the silhouettes and details of the 19th century vessels, adds a realistic tone to the creative work. Real objects can serve very well as models and "stand-ins" for slightly different objects that you prefer to include in your painting. In this way your particular artistic statement will appear lifelike and convincing in the final work.

Since the sun was setting, I chose to indicate the sails of the boats with the sky sketching color, 13A4 (Light Scarlet). The color of the white sails clearly reflects the late afternoon source of light. I also indicate the bodies of the side-wheelers with the same color.

As a last step in the establishing stage, I introduce 45L1 (Sap Green) over the blue area of the mountains.

I apply this color vigorously, sometimes overrunning even my drawings of the side-wheelers and the water surface. I use 20A1 (Purple) to suggest the purplish cast on the far shore of the Hudson River. I choose 32B4 (Non-color #2), a light gray, to suggest the brightness of the sky.


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