Large Canvas Painting

1m x 1.5m stretched canvas.
I made and stretched this canvas and primed with two layers of gesso plus a thin layer of blue acrylic paint.
Oil and Liquin used on top of acrylic underpainting. White structure lines done in thinned oil paint w. turpentine.

Painted outside in the woods on a still, sunny evening facing the setting sun.

The white structure lines I added back in the studio, using as much precision as possible with three point perspective – turns out a larger ruler is needed for this massive canvas!
I chose the shape and position of the structure based on what I saw in the shape of the canopy when I was painting outside. I marked the rough shape into the paint, and used the memory of this shape plus photos and the marks made to draw the structure accurately.

Immediate thoughts on the painting are in my sketchbook.

What Works Well

Adding the structure back in the studio after the painting outside is done – I can pick which parts of the line are in front and behind the brushstrokes, and it makes the painting outside more free. Also adding the structure when I’m back in the studio is best because I have the most control over the perspective lines.

Blue underpainting – vibrant, like an extreme and overly saturated blue sky, highlights yellows and oranges.

Number and variety of brushstrokes – Used learnings from previous experiments such as using lots of vertical brushstrokes using a fair amount of blocks of colour and knowing when to stop painting.

I’ve highlighted this brushstroke (right centre on canvas) with a digital sketch above. This shape I’ve used in charcoal sketches in my sketchbook but they work in paint as well.
The brushstroke imitates the shape of a tree well, suggesting the ‘body’ of the tree and the general shape, I am going to use this shape more :).

I’m noticing that the finished painting has movement centring in the middle of the canvas. It reminds me of old fashioned or fish eye camera lenses that distorts the scene and focuses on a central point.
Part of the reason for this cyclical shape is that I give the trees near the edge of the canvas curves that arch into the centre. This creates that feeling of trees looming over you which doesn’t stray from how trees appear when one stands under them.
Another reason for this circular movement is that I was facing into the setting sun (which was slightly covered with clouds). The sun is placed in the centre of the canvas in the middle of the three yellow strokes of paint, and caused me to make marks that imitate the cyclical feel of a setting sun with a bright point moving outwards all around.

The size! – a big canvas means I can paint landscape to get the width of the woods in but still have the height to create the sense of a tall canopy.

Drawing the lines in white oil paint – similar texture and feel to using white charcoal. But the white charcoal won’t sit at all on top of oil paint and the thickness of the line cannot be altered.
Thinned white oil paint sits well on top of the oils, is a more striking colour, can be erased with turpentine and the thickness of the stroke can be altered, so all in all an effective way of representing these structures!

Colour palette – I used two types of yellow, both cool. This limited my colours slightly and makes the colours look more cohesive. Having vibrant raw colours dotted amongst more muted tones works well because the vibrancy of colours is relative and exaggerates differences.

Good amount of small brushstrokes.

What could have worked better

Size of brushstrokes:

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