Demonstration: Painting a Landscape on Commission, Part I

- The DRAWING Phase -

Voila, two matched pillars. Just a word about the bases. I first had the pillars running straight off the bottom of the canvas, but that led the eye right off the painting. Then I put the two complete bases inside the picture; that looked too cramped. I elected to place them just off the edge to stop but not trap the viewer's eye. We'll see if this works at the painting stage.

I will continue to make adjustments to the pillars, but they are fine for the moment. Now that the architecture is roughed-in, I can have some fun playing with landscape possibilities. The client would like an open landscape with sky. I will also include a river to break up the mass of green that would otherwise dominate. In the back of my mind while drawing I am thinking about the room colors and how they can later be incorporated.

As I draw the landscape I decide to devote lots of space for sky and the distant mountains. I have to be careful not to overdo the volume of "things" in the painting. It will be viewed from across a room, so too many little things will kill the overall effect.

The arched wall/pillars, the distant mountains, and foreground are fairly horizontal. I was originally going to put in a horizontal river, but I bend the river instead. This will take the viewer into the painting via a classic route.

I play with a few tree possibilities then see that the pillars and wall appear to be very stark. A few sketchy lines are added to indicate a touch of leaves and vines...not too much, or it will look busy and overly romantic. I want the viewer to stay inside the painting not look at the periphery.

One other thing that I had not thought about until now. The room's windowed balcony is to the right of where the painting will be. Therefore, the light source in the painting will also come in from the right. This painting will undoubtedly be moved to another location over time time. My decision to positioning the light source to the right will work wherever the painting is placed. But for now, will add a realistic lighting effect that works with the living room.

While I await word from the client on the canvas drawing, we'll take a break. I will continue with Part 2 and show how we'll finish "Painting a Landscape on Commission.". Thanks for joining me so far!


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