Oil on Canvas Panel, 12″x9″ (Larger)

On November 3 I went to Viansa Winery in Sonoma County with my plein air painting group. It’s a beautiful estate in the wine country with wonderful views in every direction. I painted the first layer of this painting on site and then today at home I painted another layer, correcting the original plein air sketch. I set my timer for one hour and completely redid the whole painting in about 45 minutes. Then I had dinner and when I came back I forgot my plan to do a one-hour painting and spent another two hours fiddling around with stuff I could have left alone.

As Karen suggested in her comment here a couple days ago, it’s good to focus on one goal per painting. I did that with this painting. My goal was to create a sense of distance, and I think I accomplished that. (Yay!) What’s interesting is that even though it’s only been three weeks since I started this painting, I see how much I’ve learned just in that short time…or maybe how much of what I’ve learned in the past year is starting to sink in and take hold. The on-site painting was out of proportion and very flat–no sense of depth or distance. But it was colorful which was my focus on that day — getting some color into my painting.

As I worked on this tonight I was thinking about two things my teacher recently pointed out to me that applied to the problems I’d had with this painting:

  1. Paint the dog before the fleas (in other words, get the big shapes in before starting on the little details)
  2. When you have man-made objects in a painting, such as buildings or fences, they have to be the right size or the whole painting will look wrong because we know what the object is and what it’s size is.

Here’s the photo I took of the scene:
View from Viansa Winery Photo

In the original version I got really involved in painting the little building in the front left and the bigger one halfway back on the right. But I’d made them bigger than they should have been so I could paint the details. And they were definitely the fleas, not the dog!

Art theory, Landscape, Oil Painting, Other Art Blogs I Read, Outdoors/Landscape, Painting, Photos, Plein Air

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Great lessons and a wonderful painting, Jana. That cool sky/warm earth combo is delicious. (I also like your traffic guy below it.)


  2. I love the light in this painting. and the intense fall colors up against the cool mountain solemness and solidity.

    After reading about the Furminator the other day and visiting their website, I went out and bought one. Love it! Gertie looks much thinner and it cut my sweeping/vacuuming frequency by half. Thanks


  3. The sky is just stunning and yes, there is a wonderful sense of distance and scale. I love the advice about the dog before the fleas! I’m just the sort of person to look for the fleas!

    Thanks for your lovely comments btw! Sorry to hear you had a migraine on Thanksgiving. Migraines always seem to know the very best day to hit, don’t they? 😦


  4. Hi! I found you through Katherine’s feedblitz. I believe Katherine is an Art Robot. (I mean this in all good fun.) I do not know how she keeps up with all the art and still has time for Her Art.
    I am so thankful for Her blog. It inspired me to do the work I am involved in now. Your flowers are now inspiring me in the other work I have been exploring. This is all just wonderful.


  5. This is a wondefful painting Jana. Your warm colours bring the foreground into such nice sharp focus and pushing the cool distance even furhtere away, causing my eye to really go into the painting! and I love your diagonal movements over the panel! this is a lovely composition!


  6. Beautiful. I really get a sense of the place, better, ironically, than the photo — or maybe not ‘ironically’ — it’s a great painting. Definitely a feel of distance.

    Forgive me if I’m late in saying this, but I love the new look of your blog, by the way.


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