StudioSense: Seeing Nature through a Master's Lens


Monet said it all:

"When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you...merely think, here is a little square of blue, an oblong of pink, a streak of yellow.."

Working on the winter scene, I pondered how to convey the dense woods to the left of the snowy path. The reality is that this area is a crowded collection of varying width trees, fallen branches, leafless shrubs, and a few leftover autumn leaves.

Rather than crafting onerous detail to convey the actual vegetation, I borrowed Monet's insight to capture the essence of that scene: blocks and streaks of brown gray, blue hues all in the same value (Values 5 and 6 on the Gray Scale and Value Finder). No great detail here, just swaths of pastel applied in varying directions.

Here is a close up of this area in pastel. Looks rather rough up close:


Note that there are clearly-defined branches yet a bunch of varying blocks and streaks of pastel to convey the depth of the woods as well as the variety of vegetation.

Here is a wider view of the painting in progress. The close-up area shown above is on the left in this wider view image.


And here is the reference photo:


As I've said before, "nature was not drawn." Edouard Manet once said, "you wouldn't dream of counting the scales of the salmon, would you?"