Looking at the painting back in the studio, I can take the time to really consider what I have. I can check my design and drawing and plan any adjustments that need making.

I work out how I’m going to approach each of the various passages in the painting and in what order I’m going to tackle them.

My plan now is to treat the painting, in theatrical terms, as a drama. What I’m working with is a stage and all the various elements in my painting are either characters, props or scenery on my stage.


Blazing Orange Leaves Stage 3This approach helps me clarify my thinking. I can apply various degrees of importance to each element knowing what role they have to play in the drama. This not only helps me in clarifying the composition and process, but aids in simplification – I don’t need a cast of thousands so a lot of lesser characters begging for attention get chopped – they’re just not needed.

My leading characters are the foreground trees, the masculine heroes of the tale being the strong upright tree trunks, and the heroine, the beautiful princess tucked in behind, adorned in her magnificent gown of shining gold. Everything else plays supporting roles to them.

So there I have it, background scenery, various props scattered about on the stage, the central characters who are telling the story, and finally, the whole drama brought to life by the controlled fall of light!

OK, so it’s really just a tree in landscape – but in reality I have gone through that process just described as part of my planning and it sits there in the back of my mind, influencing the way I render form, adjust contrasts, bring elements to completion and balance out every part of the painting. That is one of the purposeful intentions I am layering on top of the original impressions captured on location.

In the photograph you can see where I am at currently, having taken a break from working on the painting to write this article .

Considerable work has been done since beginning the studio phase . All the background is in place, the middle ground supporting elements have been brought to completion and I am currently working my way through the foreground trees and foliage.

All that remains then is to bring the foreground to completion. Once everything has been fully developed, the final task will be general re-balancing and tidying up.


Blazing Orange Leaves – Part 4