On a recent weekend I thought I’d try the idea of painting a landscape area-by-area instead of blocking the whole thing first. It’s kind of like paint-by-numbers, but without the numbers.
I set up the pochade box on an estate along the Hudson with a view toward the river and High Peak in the Catskills.
I took 20 minutes to draw in the tree silhouettes on an oil-primed 8x10 panel. Then I started painting in each area with a small bristle brush, working from background to foreground and trying to get a finished effect right away. This felt weird at first because I don't usually complete one area at a time, but then I pretended I was doing a cross-hatched pen and ink drawing.
Here’s the painting most of the way finished, with the real background behind it. I consciously enlarged the relative size of the mountains compared to the trees, and I cut that slot in the trees leading down to the river.
And here’s the finished painting. Just as I was signing it, a little gnat landed in the wet paint of the sky and got stuck with his wings stretched out in the exact position of a soaring red-tail hawk. I didn’t have the heart to scrape him off. I guess he didn’t die in vain.
Earlier GJ post on area-by-area painting, link.