Friday, April 8, 2011

I Am Not An Artist

Multiple failed attempts to paint a forest full of trees has convinced that I am not an artist.  If you read my last post, you know what I'm trying to create.  All of my best efforts this week have ended up looking like vague multi-colored blobs, not like trees at all.

Yesterday, while taking a long lunchtime walk, I studied the wooded hillsides around me.  I realized that, in spite of the thousands of trees covering those hillsides, you couldn't see them.  Only the first couple of foreground rows were visible, the rest just disappeared.

You literally can't see the trees for the forest.  With that realization, an idea hit me.

A few weeks ago, I bought something called a "grapevine broom" at Michael's.  This is a wooden craft item, truly a broom made out of several pieces of grapevine bound together.  My intent was to cut it apart and use some of the thicker pieces for making pine trees.  Turns out there is another use for it - flat, nearly two-dimensional background trees.  I've discovered that if I layer these three or four rows deep against the backdrop, with my "root" trees in front, I can make a convincing forest:

This means that my backdrop painting simply needs to be a vague brownish-tannish-grayish hill-shaped blob. The layered trees will prevent a clear view of the backdrop, while allowing the overall shape and color to show through.  Armed with this new revelation, I went to work.

After a couple of hours of work, I now have the gloomy gray winter sky that I wanted, along with the brownish-tannish-grayish hill-shaped blob:

The paints that I used cost me $7, all from the "oops" paint section at Home Depot.  The sky is a very light pinkish-orange, almost white flat paint, with a flat gray brushed over it while still wet.  Before the paint dried, I went over the entire thing with a wet paintbrush dipped in water, to help blend the colors together.  The hills are a chocolate brown, yellow, and gray, each applied while the underlying coat was still wet.