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Landscape Painting: Fancy Hats Optional

Hey so I finished an oil painting this weekend! Although I like oils a lot, it’s been a while since I last broke them out. This was painted on top of a different painting that I started this summer and then decided that I hated.
A couple of things set up Painting A to failure. Last summer a friend and I were going around to local parks to paint, as neither of us had painted outside in forever and we wanted the challenge. One of the problems with painting in parks*, however, is that neither of us are super into painting plants, so we wanted a park that had a view of something. We ended up at an overlook that has a nice view of downtown, except that it was far enough away that all the buildings looked like little rectangles. This wasn’t impossible, but the canvas is pretty small, only 12”x12” so I ended up trying to paint a bunch of itty-bitty rectangles and I realized I was just never going to be happy with the result. But, I didn’t want to waste the canvas so I went through my collection of photos I’ve taken over the years to find a subject I liked better.

Painting from photos doesn’t exactly have the same romance as painting outside, and I don’t have an excuse to wear a fancy sunhat while I’m doing it, but it certainly is more convenient. What’s kind of fun about painting over an existing image is that you get that additional texture and unplanned effects from the first painting showing through the top layer. Balancing that out so that it enhances the composition instead of making everything look like a muddy mess OR tightening everything up so much that I loose the painterly-ness is something I’ve been working on for a while now.

By the way, I would like to leave a message to future art historians on the off chance my art becomes famous enough for someone to bother: if you x-ray one of my canvases and find a hidden painting, please be aware that it’s hidden because I HATED it. Don’t get too excited.

Here’s the progression:

The original painting.

The original painting.

This looks a lot cooler in the photo than it did in real life, otherwise I might've stopped painting here.

This looks a lot cooler in the photo than it did in real life, otherwise I might’ve stopped painting here.

The basics are blocked in, the rest is just detail work.

The basics are blocked in, the rest is just detail work.

Finished!

Finished!

Note all the things I changed between this and the painting because the power went to my head.

Note all the things I changed between this and the painting because the power went to my head.

*Another problem was that after we’d been there for an hour, a birthday party showed up. That all the kids and parents really wanted to talk to us about what we were painting wasn’t so bad, but that they insisted on throwing confetti around on a windy day was.

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Celia Yost

Celia Yost

I'm an illustrator/graphic artist from Ohio. I like drawing monsters, coffee, and painting outside wearing a fancy hat.

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