A Blog About Oil Painting

Painting Tip #2: Simplify the Landscape

/ / Landscape Painting Tip Sketch Sky

Corner of the Field (plein air/studio). 8x10, oil on linen panel. 2015/17

Continuing on with the theme of rescuing old paintings, this one has come close to going in the garbage can more than once. The painting is one of a handful I have left from Virginia so I was reluctant to let it go without first trying to fix it up.
The original version was done on location on a overcast fall day (I have a distinct memory of the sound of walnuts falling on a metal roof while I painted). Looking at the painting two years later it was obvious that I had tried to make too much out of it.  It made sense to try and simplify the composition.
I left most of the sky unchanged, but decided to replace all the foliage and ground. This cleaner look is more in keeping with my style, and a total repaint was the quickest way to get it done.
Rather than work from any of the photos I'd taken that day, I used studies of other landscapes as a reference. As a result the painting isn't of the same exact landscape, but it does resemble other views at the farm.
As in my previous post I made the foliage much smaller and pushed it back in the picture.
After all that, the painting was still missing something. After putting it to one side for a while, I decided to add a few sheep near the broken gate to give a bit of interest.