View Full Version : Agriculture landscape with ArtRage: the dilemma of new media... (long post)

01-07-2010, 09:23 AM
Okay, this is my second nature landscape with ArtRage and people, what a fun I had during this painting job. I used my own digi photo picture which I took late Summer 2004.

This is the hilly landscape near the small Dutch farmer village Mechelen (about 4 km from the German border and 2 km from the Belgian border), not to confuse with the Belgian-Flemish city Mechelen. This most hilly part of the Netherlands belongs to the Ardennes mountain ridges. During WW II many allied soldiers (mainly Americans) lost their lifes as the Germans defended their country very heavily here. The allies litterally stood at the German doorstep, ready to cross the German border. Soldiers were suprised by German sniper fire and had to run trough the meadows and forests from tree to tree, jumping over the many farmer fences fearing German troops who were waiting uphill with their machine guns in the bushes at the edges of the forests.

The meadows are in use for cows, however at the time I took the picture the cows were at the farm for dropping their milk or they were moved to other meadows for certain reasons.

Anyway, a photo picture is just a picture and as we all know a painting can say a lot more. Though the modern technique of afterwork in Photoshop brings me often in a dilemma. Now I do not know what to choose. Can you have a look at them and vote for a painting (1,2,3 or 4)? Is it done to harm an original ArtRage painting with Photoshop afterwork?

The 1st paint work is the original painting: it is made first in oil brush with just a little knife direct on the photo picture itself, no layers. Then I repainted the whole with oil brush, white paint: 100% pressure, 100% thinner and 0% load to smoothen my hard painting work. I must say that it works very well to get Renoir's velvet brush work.
When finished I put some little accents with oil brush mainly for the fore ground details. Ofcourse I exaggerated the colours to get a sunnier painting.

Afterwork with Photoshop CS3: the yellow parts are more yellow aslike the sky received more yellow and cyan to get it warmer. This painting looks warmer and looks as if it is somewhere between Summer and Autumn which it was that time. Ii shows also the afternoon light better than painting 1.

Afterwork with Photoshop CS3: the colours have been brought back and a sepia photo filter is turning the landscape into an adult, full grown Summer.

Afterwork with Photoshop CS3: all colours have been refreshened by covering the painting with a cool, blue photo filter. Just to bring this painting back to near the original photo picture. The grass looks fresh and green and the air wants me to believe that there is no moisture and/or air polution.

Thanks for looking and joining in. Enjoy them!

01-07-2010, 10:02 AM
I think the painting without the tree branches on the top foreground make the landscape scenery wider and more tranquil. The ground shade on the foreground tells us already that there are trees surrounding us without showing them actually.

01-07-2010, 10:23 AM
Beautiful. Great job!

01-07-2010, 11:11 AM
A stunning view:):)

01-07-2010, 11:19 AM
I agree, getting rid of the tree opens it up better.

I'm not sure I understand the technique. You bring up the picture by opening a jpeg image and then paint right on top of that? Do you use the color picker to select the colors? Photoshop has the "clone stamp tool". Are you doing something like that? Do you cover the entire canvas with paint or is part of the color the original photo?

However you are doing it, the end result looks good.

Have you tried putting a gate or an opening in the foreground fence to make it easier to enter the painting?

D Akey
01-07-2010, 12:41 PM
First and foremost, you are a hell of a painter and I think these paintings are remarkable.

Now to answer your question about the foreground branches:

1. Your style doesn't lend itself to linear things all that well, so spindly little branches are by nature going to look incongruous in your paintings. And as such you may want to not paint them for that reason, especially in the areas of high contrast because it's so eye grabbing. The wire fence works better than the branches.

2. You might design it better for your composition. It's sorta weakly included. It's almost like you knew the answer before, but thought it might stimulate some interesting participation and mutually educational conversation from which people may develop their eye. I agree that it will.

3. A foreground element would not be bad in and of itself. It's how and what you choose to include that makes it. I think if you had something solid that cooperates with the rest of the picture, you would have possibilities.

4. I agree with what was said, it clutters the picture in this case.

5. Did I mention you paint at a very high level in the direction you have chosen? Really fantastic colors. And I love your stylization of the landscape. You simplified it and it lends a perfected, seamless experience of color and order.


01-07-2010, 01:22 PM
I love the first one.
Looks really pure. The sort of violet sky makes it really look painted. Just perfect.

Strange enough I like the fourth as well. but only becauses that's exactly the way the dutch landscapes always look like in summer.
Green grass to blue skies.

But, I prefer the first one :)

01-07-2010, 01:48 PM
Briex - outstanding possibilities demonstration. Your skill is jaw dropping. They are all far above competent, but since you ask: I'm with IIQ, painting number 1. Somehow the mix of colors and the purple sky provide, for me, a more complete mix of form, line, and color that give the picture more visual interest. All the other paintings are great, but there is an homogenization across the forms that makes them, while beautiful, less visually interesting.

To me the tree issue is a tough one. It's my view that the composition needs something hefty on the left, either moving off the canvas or completely in it to anchor your eyes. A discovery in taking the tree out is the observation that the painting seems to not have a strong focal point. It's obvious when those branches are removed. Those limbs stretch into the upper left segment "rules of three" composition scheme and initially provide an anchor for getting into the painting. Take away the limbs and -- where should the eye go first? I find I drift away.

To sum: The skill in the painting is astounding. Addressing the composition would elevate the effort to a masterwork. For pure visual interest, I'm personally more attracted to #1.

THIS WAS A COOL EXERCISE. Post more. They are fun. :):)

01-07-2010, 05:56 PM
First off - this is an excellent painting and like DA said, you are a fantastic artist!

This is a dilemma I have dealt with quite often in my own paintings being that I am 90% photo reference with my work. I feel my job as the artist is to take the reference (sometimes more than one) find the right palette, and in some way create a visual experience that delivers or offers more to the viewer than just a captured moment in time (the photo). Sometimes I get this right and sometimes I don't! And in the end, the only one that needs to feel this has been met is you!

I do feel I like the open composition without the tree limbs and I prefer the warmer colors over the blues.

Fine work Briex!:D:D

L Skylar Brown
01-07-2010, 06:56 PM
My process is somewhat the same. There are many directions to go when creating an image from a reference. If you map out all of them, I think you lose focus on what it was that first sparked your imagination. I have stacks of tried, and unfinished ideas that either didn't work, or I lost my focus on. Also, Using ref photos can take you in directions you didn't intend. Don't get me wrong - I use tons of photo ref's, but I have the image completely composed in my head before I ever start the mechanical process of bringing it to fruition. Jeeze - I just reread this, and it sounds like jibberish!

01-08-2010, 01:13 AM
Thanks for the detailed comments!

Carlath: yes I import the original picture and start painting right on it without layers. I use the color picker for every area and pick out the average colour in that area. The pressure and loading of the oil brush mixes the paint with the pixels of the photo picture. By using a wacom tablet and pen tool I'm able to push hard or soft to get hard/more or soft/less tones/paint.

The fence at the fore ground has been added as the last item.

D Akey: What about the branches I agree with you. However the tree trunk and branches give the whole scenery a more secluded feeling. It feels good that you find this way of painting becoming a style which suits best to me and indeed I feel happy with it. Thanks!

idiotiQue: the 'fresh' one looks indeed fresh and simulates/nears my original photo picture the best but might look too realistic colorwise. Thanks for voting nr. 1.

Byron: thanks to your tips and tricks and those of others I have learned a lot about ArtRage, this program is ArtRageous fun to work with!! About that focal point: very good, I did not see it yet that way but now you're pointing me to that... From the other hand, by not having the tree trunk and branches in the painting I think it leaves the viewer confused behind. Maybe the confusion might be an added value to such a painting/composition. Like Edward Hopper: he also often avoided a foreground in his landscape paintings. ...okay, I'm not Hopper, I know. Sure in future more of those exercises will be posted as I find that we all should benefit from dilemmas, excercises, mishaps and succesful paintings. Thanks for voting.

Sketchism71: thanks, in fact you already 'paint' with your camera. The paintwork including personal colour choice and interpretation makes a painting to an art piece.

L Skylar Brown: Focus on what it was that first sparked my imagination should be indeed the key issue. Photoshop afterwork on an ArtRage painting could spoil the first imagination though when the AR painting did not worked out well, Photoshop is a handy tool to change the painting to the better.

I can imagine how frustrating unfinished artwork is but indeed when it doesn't have the right spirit you'd like to put in an artwork it is doomed to fail and a waste to put extra energy into it. It might be better to start over the complete painting. When using photo material as reference it is important to photograph with painter's eyes otherwise Murphy law is coming by because a picture with a bad composition shall have its effect on the painting aswell. Thanks for the comment!

Now I must choose... with branches or without. For both solutions is something to say. I guess that I will make up my mind after I study the whole for another several times.

01-08-2010, 07:42 AM
Finally I made up my mind. First of all I choose for the tree brancheless fore ground. The fence in the middle of the meadow has been re-done, aslike the colours are changed to create a warm late Summer image with a warm haizy glow in the air.

Hope you like it. And for those who posted here, thanks for the cooperation!

My original digi photo and final painting:

01-08-2010, 08:31 AM
Your technique is very perfect. Your questions are relevant. But I'll tell you one thing, shining on all aspects. Stunning.

01-08-2010, 12:25 PM
It's beautiful Briex. Thanks for letting us play with you. It was fun. Terrific finale. :):):)

01-09-2010, 12:27 AM
Thanks Oriane.

Here another painting. Today painted with ArtRage 3 but now based on a picture I found on the internet. This is same area as the painting above. The horizon shows the Belgian Ardennes and the German Eifel.

01-09-2010, 03:14 AM
Briex, wonderful experimentation and beautiful colors.:)

01-09-2010, 03:19 AM
Beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful.
Not to mention beautiful. :)

Rob in Denver
01-09-2010, 03:52 AM
I came late to this thread, but have enjoyed the comments and seeing your paintings. I noted the last one as it went to your gallery, and found it quite
pleasing, so I had to come look.
I found the original branches, which you have since taken out, very distracting and was glad to see them go. My eye was struggling to look beyond them.
The last painting, as I have said, was pleasing to me, and the houses and the fields added an area of interest that the first lacked--an area of focus.

I rarely work from Photos ( and only sometimes on top of them ) because I get too much sucked into to the realism of the photo. To avoid that, I take it to Photoshop and alter it towards a painting-like image, so I am starting off not with the photograph then.
Sometimes though, I then lose the urge to paint it, as I have an image that seems to have fulfilled what I wanted from it!

Nice work on these, they are stellar. But I would be curious what would happen for you if you threw away the photo, perhaps after a quick sketch and painted them strictly from your whims? It would be an interesting further development in these two images!

01-09-2010, 07:52 AM
Thanks Alexandra and Byron,

Thanks Rob for commenting. I met ArtRage for the first time in December 2009 after all those 40 years I painted with traditional materials. Now with ArtRage it's indeed tempting to use photo material as the basis of an artwork. In fact there is nothing wrong with it because I personally paint already with my camera by choosing a nice scenery and composition. A Photoshop paint filter gives cute paint results and is quite a good tool to make a basis for an ArtRage painting. ArtRage does it all and is not replaceable by any paint filter.

I like it to read how you look upon using photo pictures or not using them. In fact I would like to paint with ArtRage like I used to do with traditional real paint on real canvas. Putting first an ocre coloured layer, then painting a sketch in thin paint and then painting the thin paint layers, layer by layer. I should try it but it's tempting to stick to my new way of painting: 1st creating a good picture, adjust it with photoshop and then paint it with ArtRage.

I see here many paintings created without a photo reference and I adore them all because they come all from imagination and the heart which results in surprising colour combinations, painting styles, compositions etc.