View Full Version : Montana Evening

09-20-2007, 03:13 PM
Wanted to reflect the peace and solitude of an evening in the rural west.

Wasn't happy with the grass on my first attempt at this, but after some repair work, I think this is better.

09-20-2007, 04:41 PM
The grass is wonderful and the perspective on the building is good. I would suggest taking out the stars. It seems that they are out during daytime.

D Akey
09-20-2007, 05:58 PM
Must be so weird living out there so far. All the good points about camping with all the comforts of home -- like camping, only not. No radios blaring, no TVs. Only silence.

Except, I've been in places where the noise of the crickets and the frogs are really quite deafening. The night can really get rowdy. More so that the day sometimes. None of it human either.

One critique: earplugs.
This picture is deafening.

And the overall painting's brightness can go down considerably, unless you're showing us a view of some of those rare folks with night vision.

As a picture maker, if you do go darker, then you have more of a value range to play your lights against -- like in your window, a bit of light cast on the grass, the stars. . . whatever.

All depends on what you want to show us. This is a big sky kinda pic. How would one say that without words? Describe it with color and light and darks and relationships.

I can tell you have it inside you, and this kind of image has a real importance because you keep returning to this sort of theme. Would like to SEE why.

Keep going. You're doing fine. :D :D :D

09-21-2007, 12:09 AM
Thanks for the ideas. I truly appreciate it.

09-21-2007, 12:59 AM
ok - I made an admittedly hurried stab at
making some improvements based on your advice.
Disclaimer - I did not repaint the whole picture obviously. Exported to a paint program, and used it to darken the entire picture, then imported back into ArtRage.

Then painted more light in the windows, added what is hopefully a reflected light from those windows, and painted shadows on the side of the house.

While it's far from polished, I learned something in the process.

09-21-2007, 01:07 AM
The grass is wonderful and the perspective on the building is good. I would suggest taking out the stars. It seems that they are out during daytime.

Now that I've darkened everything, do the stars look in their natural setting to you?
At night in this kind of setting, on a clear night, the sky is just bursting with stars, and I kind of wanted to reflect that.

09-21-2007, 01:11 AM
Wow! I just went back and compared the two paintings. No doubt in my mind that the improvements helped - big time!

D Akey
09-21-2007, 03:37 AM
There ya go!

Glad you found value in the exercise. I think it's definitely now a light nighttime picture. The house light having influence on the outdoors establishes that for us. And you could have gone lots darker too, though it would be simply another choice of what you want to show -- in this case, with this lightness, you're showing everything.

What you've done is give us the visual cues what the conditions are -- nighttime with the environment known, and so on.

The value range (how dark and light) is acceptable as a painting because it would work on a wall painting, where things could read from a distance as a color statement as opposed to lots of black.

There is also a lot of room to go both light and dark, which would then make it (in a different picture) possible to have, for example, a cowboy sitting at a campfire, pot of beans on, nearby horse, bedroll, guitar, a log to sit on, some nearby brush and so on.

You could get all that playing against this midrange tone where you would be able to show us pretty much everything -- all the details of his clothes, details of his traveling stuff, possibly a guitar, etc. without going excessively dark and losing a lot (though that could work too. But this has solid staging potential.)

A comfortable image because there are no major shadows where nasty things can be lurking.

A photo would probably not be as effective without lots of retouch because it would have much fall off into black were you also to have a fire. You would have to light it according to the light or dark in most cases, therein losing the opposite end of the value range. Very likely less interesting. With this value range as a stage, a painter can do a lot.

You don't need to do all that. I just wanted to point out some of what you could do in this value range that you have secured.

:D :D :D

09-21-2007, 03:55 AM
Good points, and much appreciated.

One thing I thought of, was that it may be difficult to transmit to every viewer here,
the amount of darkness/lightness intended, due to everybody's individual light/dark video card settings.
On my computer, this painting is very dark, and if I went any darker, it probably would probably be a negative move, whereas on someone else's computer - it may have lots of room to be darker. (hope that makes sense).

D Akey
09-21-2007, 04:17 AM

Calibrating one's monitor is a good idea if you're making pictures. It will matter immensely if you go to print at some point.

Of course, it would depend on the printer as well. But you want to be generally in the ballpark that a pro printer might get to if you don't want any surprises.

To me this painting is kind of on the light side, though it works for me as I described.

My work goes to press a lot so I know I'm pretty well calibrated. Still there are people using PCs who post here whose pics show up really dark on my monitor. And now with yours it's lightish.

Don't know what to say. Sounds like your eye is in good shape based on what you just said. Now it's about the monitor, I guess.

09-21-2007, 05:26 AM
Holy Cow - there are a lot of lessons to be learned on this road to digital painting aren't there?
I brightened my monitor, in order to try and see how my painting might look to others, and it was "enlightening" - pun intended..
Let me guess - what on my computer, was a really well done and effective black shadow on the left side of the cabin, shows up on your computer as something more resembling a green mold... :)
From the penthouse to the outhouse in just a few clicks on my video card. :)
Clearly, in the future, I need to do a more thorough examination of my work before
sending it to others, to be sure what I see, is representative of what others are going to see.

09-21-2007, 05:51 AM
OK - I've brightened my monitor, and made a few corrections. Does this now look more like the almost dark scene I was trying for, or does it still need to be darkened more?

09-21-2007, 06:56 AM
Wow! What a difference. I wouldn't go any darker than the last one though. Great learning experience for you huh? It turned out really well. Next time, consider leaving the sky a little lighter at the horizon and gradually darkening higher up. Keep in mind also that you won't see as many stars in a lighter part of the sky. Ya dun good Kiddo! :)

09-21-2007, 07:13 AM
Excellent points Robert.

I thought about lightning the lower part of the sky, but my intended view, was that this cabin was sitting on a crest, or small rise, so that the horizon was really not viseable, but perhaps a small area might have accentuated that effect.

There are indeed a lot of lessons to be learned, but I really don't mind as long as I get them learned. Lessons learned = progress, and progres = enjoyment.



D Akey
09-21-2007, 07:47 AM

Just as an alternative after you adjusted your monitor, you could have simply taken the pic into a different program and adjusted the brightness or levels of the picture to make it return to what it looked like on your monitor originally.

Anyway, it's very cool.

Please don't take these comments as reflecting things you're born knowing. Just expanding your awareness of the control available to you. Took some of us years to learn.

Impressive progress. :D :D :D

Oh, and I think Robert is right about the gradation in the sky. Technically, your thinking makes sense, but we accept the look of it getting lighter toward the horizon and it breaks up the flatness.

Just a thought. Usually you can err on the side of 'coolest looking'.

09-21-2007, 08:44 AM
Point well taken.

I made a correction on my cabin shadow, adjusted the darkness a bit, and got rid of a few stars.

The point about the lighter horizon is well taken, but I don't want to screw up what I've done to this point trying to fix it, so
I'll save that lesson for the next one. :)


D Akey
09-21-2007, 09:34 AM

I love that some are dim and others are bright. I look at it and it feels like it's twinkling.

09-21-2007, 11:46 AM
wow, that is a dramatic difference. It looks beautiful on screen now. It has a very folk art look and really captures the open skies and stillness of living in a cabin in Montana. Which I had the pleasure to do for a weekend. Agree with Robert and D Akey it would look good with lighter skies near the horizon, but
it is wonderful for what you have expressed of the feel of Montana.

09-21-2007, 12:11 PM
My thanks to each of you for your input, and for taking the time to share your knowledge with someone in bad need of same. :)

09-21-2007, 12:26 PM
Mike, not everyone looks in this section regularly. I think you should post it in the main Gallery now. :)

09-21-2007, 01:16 PM
Mike, not everyone looks in this section regularly. I think you should post it in the main Gallery now. :)

OK - I'll give it a shot. (he says as he breaks into a cold sweat...)