High Country Majesty

My mother once told me that when making a recipe, be sure to read through the whole recipe first.

Recipes always seemed like instructions to me! (grin)

But you know, after starting on this painting, I realized that maybe it’s important to think things through to the end. You can’t just jump in, paddle around, and expect it all to end well. Funny how many things in my life have been pointing that direction lately — telling me to get the end goal in mind before beginning.

Even starting with a sketch on canvas is still having some sort of goal in mind. Yes, it’s loose and leaves room for improvisation, but it’s still a direction to move in. (Kind of like the framework of a business plan and a budget — an end result that can still be tinkered with). So here’s the initial sketch:

High Country Majesty initial sketch

Well, now that I have the end goal in mind, I start moving forward.

Part 1

The hake brush and I cooperated much better this time, but I felt like there was something missing. There’s an instruction in painting the sky that I really don’t quite get. Maybe if I’d read a couple steps ahead, I would’ve understood it better. I had a nicely blended sky by the time I was done, but no clouds. Oops! I realized this about the time I was putting in the waterfall, so I went back and added some cloud formations.

This was also my first time making pine trees with the hake brush. I’m not quite sure — I probably should’ve pulled out a video to review, but I just tried. Overall, I’m okay with our they turned out.

Now I’m to lining the clouds. Really not sure about this step.

Part 2

Since my clouds weren’t right to begin with, I feel like I’m messing this up more. Dang “read the recipe before you begin” advise. But, understanding where I was going beforehand really would’ve made a difference I think. Chalk that up to another thing learned (of course we’ll see how well I follow the advice when I get to the next painting).

Then I highlight the mountains. Again, should’ve read all the directions before beginning, not just the sentence or two that I needed at that moment. I also made a change in brushes — I felt the size Jerry recommended was too small and I’m all for letting the “workhorse brushes” do the work. Still, I thing the highlighting on the mountains came out very well. In fact, after doing that, the sky doesn’t look so weird after all. Sometimes it’s just a matter of stepping back for a moment and viewing the piece as a whole to really see what needs work. Hmmm, another good piece of advice: even while moving forward, don’t forget to stop sometimes and make sure the whole picture looks good and is moving in the overall direction of the goal. Cooking, art, business — I’m really starting to think there isn’t a whole lot of difference between them. Really, there’s probably not a whole lot of difference between anything in this life except for our perception of it.

Okay, enough philosophizing. Back to painting.

Waterfall needs work

Right about now I’m hating this painting. The sky’s not right and my waterfall looks all wrong. I do like the colors I’ve got going in the big rocks, but they all are lining up. Also, look at the top of that waterfall. Do you know what happens when you fill water into a funnel and the funnel outlet can’t keep up? Yep, that’s right, it overflows. I’ve got the same thing going on here with this waterfall, so why isn’t the water running over these rocks? Gravity has no mercy!

Well, I make a few changes to the waterfall. I also add some more colored clouds to the sky. This painting looks simple, but it’s not. Deceptive and devious this painting is. The more I work on it, the more I realize that I really need to start over. Had it been my own composition, I may very well have. But since this is part of my learning, I carry on to the end.

Finished painting for High Country Majesty

So it’s not perfect. Really, that’s what I get for not reading the recipe first. My rocks are still way too lined up and the waterfall not right. The sky — oh, don’t even get me going about that. I do like the mountains, but even they could use work. It’s dang hard trying to paint in someone else’s footsteps! I keep rinsing out my brushes with a vengeance while reminding myself that I do know how to paint. If I’d just loosen up and let myself paint how I paint and not worry so much about making my painting look so much like Jerry’s I’d probably get somewhere. Isn’t that what I said last time too?

Well, for next time, it’s Evening Flight. More dead pine trees! Egads! Okay, wish me luck as I dive back in!

3 thoughts on “High Country Majesty

  1. You are definitely a concept artist! I am, too. I need to know what something will eventually become, even if it drastically changes during the journey. It organizes everything into the right kind of flow.

  2. Ren, since you do the beautiful Chinese brush art, how do you go about planning your art? What sort of initial steps do you take to see what it “will eventually become” and get it into your flow?

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