This is a digital painting that I’m working on just for fun. I’m using it as a technical challenge, to force myself to paint a subject with really deep atmospheric perspective because it’s something that I think I need to improve.
My reference is a photo that I took a few years ago in Colorado. I’ve spent most of my life in the Midwest, so I’m easily impressed by big mountains and so took about twenty photos out the car window on this trip because Big! Pointy! Mountains! In this painting I’m trying to work on really pushing the mountains back, opening up the sky, and overall conveying the sense of space. To that end I need to sharpen up the foreground more than it is in the photo—one of the hazards of taking photos from a moving car.
The thing that makes this a little more tricky, in my opinion, is that I’m trying to keep the style fairly loose and painterly so I’m trying to figure out how to all of the above while keeping my hand visible and not producing what is essentially a clone of of the photo reference. You can see that I’ve moved things around a bit, cropped the composition down, and also upped the overall saturation of the colors from what is visible in the photo.
I’ve put approximately 1.5 hours into this painting so far, and I could probably keep picking at it indefinitely as that’s what I tend to do on projects without deadlines. I wouldn’t call any section finished yet, but the foreground and the clouds are the two areas that definitely need some more work, I think, before I can call this done.