Hay Painting – Session #1

| July 25, 2010
lee a brown oil painting session

Hay Painting Session #1 Progress

Above is the result of my first painting session on the hay bales landscape. It took about three hours. I decided that the first step would be to lay in the sky in so I could work the trees into it while everything was wet. I used a ton of colors in the sky and kept blending until I got the look I wanted. I did not want texture in the sky since I plan to use paint more heavily in the foreground. The sky was peaceful when I took the picture and I think keeping it light and airy without texture helps create that feeling in the painting. I knew I had to keep the lower horizon light so the interesting silhouette of the  trees would sing. I also did not want to saturate the sky too much so it will be able to take a subordinate position to a more saturated foreground. For the most part, the landscape naturally become less saturated with distance due to the intervening atmosphere.

I wanted the trees to hold together as a dark mass and I broke them up within a tight value range to create interest. Farms tend to have a bunch of stuff laying around. It was fun to pepper the trees with elements of interest including a few bluish roof tops and the sunlit farming equipment. Also letting the light dance a bit around the ground shadows helps break up the darks and indicates that the sun is making its way to the horizon to put a cap on our summer day.

If you look at the larger image by clicking on it, you can see that I am not trying to over render anything. I am just trying to create an impression of how the light is illuminating the shapes in the painting. Adding a few select sharp edges here and there is intended to provide enough information so your brain can make up the rest. I still have a lot to learn but I do think it is getting easier to determine where the edges need to go.

glass oil painting palette

Hay painting palette – Could us a little organization!

Above is the state of my palette after the first session. You can see that I am using a limited number of colors, relying primarily on Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red and Ultramarine Blue Deep. I have added Yellow Ochre as a cool yellow to mix into my greens. I also use Transparent Oxide Red to mix with the blue to get my darks. Something I learned from Jay Moore. and Finally, I use Viridian sparingly to liven up the greens. I will use it more when I get to the foreground next week. It can be dangerous though because a little goes a long way.

dry brushing foreground

Beginning to dry brush the foreground

OK, I decided to do a little more before I pack. Just to get my bearings and build a little confidence in the foreground, I started dry brushing, letting the canvas toning come through to create the sense of illumination. Still much to do but I must stop for now and finish this up at the end of the week.

See ya!

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (3)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    Wow, Lee! This is looking just so absolutely beautiful! The sky is one to get lost in – so very well painted!

  2. Chris Wray says:

    This is an ambitious work due to the sweeping fore- and middle-ground hayfield that dominates the canvass. The play of light on the freshly felled hay will be your pièce de résistance. Eager to see how you handle this.

    One critique: your converging hayfield lines and background lead the viewer to the horizon, just to the right of the power line pole, yet there is no “there” there! You might consider adding some focal interest at this prominent intersection.

  3. Dalan says:

    Great painting and thanks for showing the palette. Very interesting, i need to remember to take more pictures like that myself.