Monday, February 18, 2013

Ta Da!

 The bluebonnet landscape is complete. Last chance for Amy to say she wants something changed before she recieves this painting...
I added shape and character to the tree, details to the roof and rock sides of the house, plus the fence, which I carefully placed in order to add another parallel to the Big Live Oak Tree painting that Amy bought and wants to hang with this one.
Thanks for taking this art journey with me!
Nan Henke
Texas Hill Country Art

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Painting the tree in the bluebonnet field

It is time for my annual warning: just because all of the canvas is covered with paint, that does not mean the painting is done!  There is a fence to add, aging on the house and the tree... oh the tree...

I decided not to do the exact tree from the photo, so just started putting leaves anywhere I liked.  It looked like a green lollipop!  I have added some character back in by splitting the trunk with a triangle of sky, but it needs even more.  Perhaps more variety in the shapes of the leaf areas and a scar from a broken branch....

Nan Henke
Texas Hill Country Art

Thursday, February 7, 2013

An artist's secret

A secret of artists: some parts of the painting go really fast!  The background trees were painted by just rolling my brush around the blues and yellows on my pallette, then rolling it around on the canvas.  No need to watch edges: I overlapped the sky and distant bluebonnets as much as I wanted!  I added a few shadows and hilights and trunks, and the tree line was done!
The house on the other hand, will be a tale of many layers.  All that is done so far are the base colors.  They create a strong geometric shape with size and weight to contrast all the light curvy lines in the rest of the painting.  There will be a lot of detail to add to the rusty roof and aging walls before this looks like the old abandoned German farmhouse of the photos.
Nan Henke
Texas Hill Country Art

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tiny portraits of bluebonnets

For the foreground bluebonnets, each flower is a tiny portrait.  It starts with a blue line with three white dots on top, just to establish where the flower is, how tall it is and how it leans.  Then some light green to buffer the white a bit, and some very dark shadows in the grass. 

In the second picture, you see the foreground bluebonnets finished.  Each one has florets in various values of the cobalt blue depending on light and shadow distribution.  The ones closest to the viewer even have tiny white dots to represent what I call "the window" in the top half of each floret.

Some random colors have been brushed into the grassy areas to keep them from looking too bright.  
All the bluebonnets need now is a touch of contrast.  What do you think: a few pink evening primrose?  indian paintbrush?  tiny yellow daisies? or a mixture?

Amy, this is a good point for you to be giving future owner input.  Did you picture the bluebonnets as bigger? smaller? darker? lighter? fewer?  more of them? Just because of the lighting in the 2nd picture, the background bluebonnets look darker than they really are.  
I know it is hard to picture the whole thing at this point, but give me any input that you can.  We are stull at a point where it is easy to make changes.
Nan Henke
Texas Hill Country Art

Friday, February 1, 2013

The trick to painting a bluebonnet landscape

The trick to painting a bluebonnet landscape is to have the size of flower and amount of detail on each flower decrease as you visually travel back into the distance.  But it is easier to paint in the opposite direction.  I have muted the distant bluebonnets into something a little more hazy by adding tiny dots of white, green and orange.  Orange is blue's complement, or opposite color.  Complements will grey out a color that is too strong.  But I overdid it a bit and had to add some more tiny bits of blue on top. 
Since I will be adding a fence to define the edge of the hill, my bluebonnets can jump from distant haze to midrange.  In the midrange bluebonnets, you can see the dab of white on top of each flower.  The ones near the front of this section have larger white dabs accompanied by a bit of light green.  They also have three blues in each flower, as I start to establish light and shadow. 
Don't fall in love with that front row, as most of them will be covered by the front bluebonnets, which will fill most of the section that is now green.  My next job is to decide how big the front bluebonnets should get.  Once they are in place, I can start on the abandonded farm house, the background trees and the big tree.
Nan Henke
Texas Hill Country Art