Painting Tips: Planes and Blending


Often when viewing a landscape painting in progress, we feel that there is "something wrong" but don't quite know what that something is! Is is likely that the "something wrong" is too much of a color, landscape object (such as a field of grass), or clutter.

In the current version of Birch Ballet I felt that the mid-ground greens were too consistent across the middle of the painting, almost like a dividing line that caused distraction. So my plan was to break it up.

So first I took a still paintbrush and removed a portion of the mostly green foliage. Then my trusty cloth and finger blended the area. It occurred to me while blending, that this portion of the field in fat can remain blurry. Remember, if we want to focus on certain aspects of the landscape, such as the trees, it behooves us to soften other areas of the landscape to help draw attention to the main subject.


Then I began to apply a light mauve color to the area.


My next task was to blend a bit further, so I chose a light green pastel pencil to do the work for me.


The middle ground greenery will exist toward the left half of the painting, rather than stretching across the entire canvas.

Here is the current version of Birch Ballet. Notice the effect of the blending exercise just completed. This effect beings out the more distant plane in the painting (if I decide to leave it this way I will need also to soften up the foliage behind, in front of the distant tree line).