Facing the Matterhorn (revised)

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JJWilliamson
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Facing the Matterhorn (revised)

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:27 pm

Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cms. Wet in wet from start to finish.

Palette: Titanium white, Paynes grey, ivory black, cadmium yellow, cad red, phthalo blue, cerulean blue and blood.

One year, many moons ago, my wife, Diane, travelled to Zermatt, Switzerland, on a school skiing trip. She still tells me that she could see the Matterhorn from her bedroom window, so I decided to give her this view as a Christmas present. It's finished now so there's time for it to dry before the big day. Hope she likes it.

Revision on top.

Matterhorn revised 5 (07 12 2019) 001 700 pix.jpg
Matterhorn revised 5 (07 12 2019) 001 700 pix.jpg (173.37 KiB) Viewed 508 times

Facing the Matterhorn 05 12 2019 700 pix.jpg
Facing the Matterhorn 05 12 2019 700 pix.jpg (164.82 KiB) Viewed 548 times
Long time a child and still a child

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Sid
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Re: Facing the Matterhorn

Post by Sid » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:04 pm

Wonderful JJ.

As a kid I live in Switzerland and the Majestic Matterhorn was a regular sight when we went on our ski trips.

Beautiful.
Like the imprint left, an effect on your being - beautiful, wonderful, succinct.

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Re: Facing the Matterhorn

Post by Macavity » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:15 am

I'm sure she will JJ. Definitely conveys the monumental. Really like those figures walking with purpose. Takes the eye into the narrative.

My technical question for today: is it okay to use black?

cheers

mac

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Re: Facing the Matterhorn

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:27 pm

Thank you very much, Sid and mac, for dropping in to give this one the once over. Always appreciated.

It's really good to hear from someone who is so familiar with the region, Sid. Thanks for mentioning it.

Black should be used sparingly, mac, and even then only as a mixer. I had some left over so I used it with a touch
of blue and white to soften the power. I'd usually mix my own dark colour with Prussian blue, red and a touch
of primary yellow, or use Paynes grey.

I'm posting a revision above the original post. Ironed out a few problems. See what you think when you get the chance.

Best

JJ
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Re: Facing the Matterhorn (revised)

Post by Macavity » Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:44 am

Well, obviously I'm looking at a photograph, which I know loses painted subtleties, but it looks as if the shadow transitions on the mountain are softer in places and a little more 'lined' in others? Overall, talking margins, a rockier effect. To be honest, I like both versions.

You don't use raw/burnt umber and the blues ultramarine/cobalt/prussian in this palette JJ. I wondered what your strategies were in selecting your palette?

best

mac

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Re: Facing the Matterhorn (revised)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:30 am

Thanks for getting back to me, mac. Appreciated.
Macavity wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:44 am
Well, obviously I'm looking at a photograph, which I know loses painted subtleties, but it looks as if the shadow transitions on the mountain are softer in places and a little more 'lined' in others? Overall, talking margins, a rockier effect. To be honest, I like both versions.

Ah, I made a number of changes in an attempt to refine the mountain. The almost invisible right background was blending in with the foreground, so I knocked that back with grey-blue tones; then there was the top of the Matterhorn, where the delineation between light and shadow was blurred. I followed the peak lines more accurately and managed to paint a crisper change. I completely repainted the shadow snow on the mountain side, taking care over angles and outcrops and added more white snow to the lit side, then adjusted the more obvious rocks, following the crags and ridges with reasonable accuracy (that was the idea, anyway). Finally, I added a touch more white to the right hand foreground, near the ridge, to make for a cosier transition, although it's not really showing that well. Just when I thought I was finished I noticed that I'd failed to include any sign or hint of footprints between the two climbers, so I dropped a clue into place. :)

You don't use raw/burnt umber and the blues ultramarine/cobalt/prussian in this palette JJ. I wondered what your strategies were in selecting your palette?

Actually, now that you mention it, I did use ultramarine in the sky. I blended phthalo blue, ultramarine, cerulean blue and titanium white for the sky. Cerulean blue is often used instead of cobalt blue. I honestly can't remember if I used some burnt umber in the figures or not. I blended a few colours together, ones that were already on the palette, to make dark red and green (you can just about make out the colours if you look closely) and b.u. wasn't on the original palette. I would have used Prussian blue if I'd made my own dark/black colour.

When selecting my palette I usually refer to my source images and attempt to unravel the dominant colours. Then, I always apply a touch of artistic licence to try to give the colour range a pleasing look. An artist friend of mine is always reminding me how colour attracts the eye far more than any of us realise. How many times have you heard people say, when selecting pots of paint for redecorating, "Nice colour". The same thing applies to painting pictures. That's the theory, anyway. :)

best

mac
Thanks for the great questions. It's good to think.

Best

JJ
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Re: Facing the Matterhorn (revised)

Post by Macavity » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:51 pm

Thanks for that response JJ. Most informative.

I found this on wiki, which I thought interesting
The great age of umber was the baroque period, where it often provided the dark shades in the chiaroscuro (light-dark) style of painting. It was an important part of the palette of Caravaggio (1571–1610) and Rembrandt (1606–1669).[3] Rembrandt used it as an important element of his rich and complex browns, and he also took advantage of its other qualities; it dried more quickly than other browns, and therefore he often used it as a ground so he could work more quickly, or mixed it with other pigments to speed up the drying process.[7] The Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer used umber to create shadows on whitewashed walls that were warmer and more harmonious than those created with black pigment.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umber

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Re: Facing the Matterhorn (revised)

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:47 pm

Thanks, mac
Macavity wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:51 pm
Thanks for that response JJ. Most informative.
I must say the same.

So, Burnt umber was a big player with the stars of yesteryear. I was completely unaware of its status but it makes sense, especially those warm shadows. Yes, I like that.

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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