Sunset at Pine Tree Forest, Part 2: Sketch

The Value Comp

I started preparing by doing a comp of the major value break down of the painting.

  • At this point I’m thinking of separating the foreground, middle ground, and background.
  • I’m grouping objects together that are closely related in value.
  • And starting to think about how these major groups lead the viewers eye throughout the painting. Making design changes in the shapes to lead the eye where I want it to go. I’ll focus on this in more detail in the next stage where I’ll do a shape design study.
  • I’m also working out the value composition, making sure it feels balanced. Once I add the bears into the composition, I might need to make some adjustments.

Separating Foreground, Middle Ground and Background

To show depth and atmosphere in a landscape you must separate the foreground, middle ground, and background.

  • The foreground will have a full value range, meaning the shadows will have black accents and the highlights will be white.
  • As you look further into the distance, values begin to disappear and blend together. In this painting the middle ground is very dark, so the range is from black to a value 5.
  • The background is very light, so the mountains and sky will be limited to only about 2-3 values in the lighter end of the scale. I will use color to separate the mountains from the sky.
Foreground – Full value range
Middle Ground – Limited value range
Background – Very limited value range

The Eye Path

I want the viewer’s eye to travel in a circle around the painting and then everything to point back into the lower center of the painting, where the bears will be roaming. I can use the branches of the trees as fingers pointing at the focal point.

Next – Part 3: Shape Design Study


Subscribe to my newsletter for updates on new content.