This is the third painting in my Aspen Series of Paintings. I hope you enjoy seeing the progress of the paintings as I create them. I suggest following my blog to get all the latest updates.
Reference Photograph graciously provided by Photographer Jerry Schmutz.
Sketch of cropped photo
Day 1 & Day 2
I started by laying in the larger trees. Next I painted the sky color around the trees and the snow and tree shadows. I then started painting in the smaller trees and added darks for the evergreen trees. I continued to develop the color of the larger trees, adding highlights on some of the edges. I then added the dark spots to the two aspens on the right side and added branches to the smaller trees around them.
I made corrections to the sky color, lightening the areas near the horizon. I added some reddish orange color to some of the tree trunks in the smaller trees. Using a mixture of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and a bit of cad yellow light I made the dark shade for the dark patches on the aspen trees, going over some of the areas previously painted to darken them and increase the contrast. Then working right to left I began adding dark patches to more trees. I also added dark shadows in the background between some of the trees.
Well a couple of days went by and I couldn't work on the painting but I did today. I started by adding more shading to the trees on the right giving them more contrast and form. Than I adjusted the color on the other large aspens in the center and left side. I then began to define some of the smaller tree trunks and added some evergreen branches on the left and right. I also added more dark patches to more trees which I love doing because of how it increases the contrast.
Today I worked primarily on adding foliage to the near and distant evergreen trees and some branches on some of the smaller trees. I darkened some of the trunks and branches of the smaller aspens on the left side and added a few branches on the right side.
I worked on the background trees on the right side going toward the middle of the painting adding dark areas between the trees, dark spots in places on the tree trunks, and varying the color of the bark from bottom to top of the trunks. I also adjusted the size of the tree trunks and made some of them crooked so they would look more natural. This is a tedious process for me especially with a painting of this size - 36" x 36" - but this is my style. I wouldn't be happy doing it any other way. Before I stopped for the day, I added some highlights on the dark patches on the 3 largest trees on the right.
Well I'm getting started painting again after taking about a week off. My daughter and family had been living with us after selling their house and have now moved to Belgium for 3 or more years. So the last week has been very busy and then I caught what everyone else had, cold or virus, whatever and that made me lethargic for a couple of days. So I just put in about 3 hours today. I worked primarily on the smaller trees, giving them more color and shaping their trunks. I added more small branches and foliage both light and dark to give them more definition.
I worked on many of the trees from left to right continuing to adjust color, add highlights, add branches here and there, and add spots of dark color. I painted over some of the branches and foliage in the upper left of the canvas to create more variation in the height of the background trees. There is still a lot more I want to do but today the painting began to take on a more finished look.
Today I worked on finishing the foliage on the tree tops and adding more dark foliage here and there. I added more dark and light branches in various places across the painting. I punched up the yellows of the near evergreen foliage a little to create more contrast with the violet in the trees.
I added some variation in the sky color in a few places. I worked more on the major tree trunks left of center to further develop then. I then made some adjustments to some of the other tree trunks relative to other colors I've added or new information I discover in the photograph.
I continued refining the color on the large aspen trees creating more form. Next, I added back some of the dark patches that had been covered while adjusting the tree trunk color. I also added new dark patches of color on some of the trunks. I then worked on the background trees, adjusting color and adding some dark spots, most of the spots in a value not quite as dark as on the closest aspen trees.
I continued working on the background trees, primarily in the area right of center of the canvas. I then did color adjustments to the snow and shadows.
Today I worked both on the background and foreground trees, trying to see what I could do to make the foreground trees pop. I add more dark areas on some of the tree trunks and highlight to the sides of some of the trees and I began to add more small spots of a lighter shade of the dark spot color. Next I added some very light horizontal lines or rings which help create the illusion of roundness. In the background trees I added a couple of sapling trees and some brush with foliage in places.
Today I am continuing to try to push back the background trees and bring the major trunks forward. To do that I lightened the dark patches on the background trees a little. I also added some of that lighter color to the dark patches on the major trunks to give them more form. I added more highlights to those dark patches which creates more contrast, helping to bring the major trunks forward. For the same reason I lightened the highlights on the right side of the major trunks. The snow shadows needed a little adjustment and I added a few more branches here and there and adjusted the foliage a bit. I signed the painting in the lower left corner indicating I may be finished but I'll have another look tomorrow to see if I see any other adjustments that need to be done.
To see the step-by-step progress of the first Aspen Painting Click Here.Contact the artist, Daniel Fishback for information about these paintings by email: dfis...@charter.net or by cell: 314-276-8880.