Studies for La Malbaie

One aspect of my landscape paintings that I’d like to improve is the sense of space and depth.  I suspect that I’m too easily led astray by my crystal-clear reference photographs, such as this one, below:

La Malbaie reference photograph
La Malbaie – Wish I was there right now! (okay, well, maybe not RIGHT now, because it’s October and cold and rainy right now)

So of course, this means that I have to do studies!  Here is that same scene, but broken down in 3-D lineart…

La Malbaie depth map study
La Mabaie Depth Map Study, Photoshop, using Kyle T. Webster’s HB Pencil brush.

… then simplified to 4-5 grey values…

La Malbaie 4-5 value study
La Malbaie 4-5 Value Study, Photoshop, using Kyle T. Webster’s Gouache brushes.

… and finally, a detailed value study!

La Malbaie value study
La Malbaie Value Study, Photoshop

I can’t say I’m %100 satisfied with the mountain in the background, but those foreground trees and that road really pop!  Full disclosure: I actually broke my own rule and used all kinds of crazy Photoshop brushes to create the pine trees.  The more of these landscape studies I do, the more I move away from traditional media and embrace the digital.

Lac Charlebois at Sunset

©2019, Emma Pittson, “Lac Charlebois at Sunset”. Photoshop.

View from the balcony of my step-mother’s cottage in the Laurentians.

If I were to do this piece again, I would make sure to paint the foreground trees with a sharper brush.  I know in theory that foreground elements should be clearly defined, and background elements should be out of focus, but I don’t always remember to follow through with that!

La Malbaie, Take 2

©2019, Emma Pittson, “Les Hautes Gorges de la Riviere Malbaie”. Photoshop.

Wow, I struggled with this one.  I never felt like I could get the colours right, or the sense of a multitude of branches.  I love trees, I love the idea of painting trees, but when it gets right down to it, people who paint trees have the patience of a SAINT, and that’s just not me.  Perhaps I should relax my own rules for this project and allow myself to use special Photoshop brushes in order to more easily simulate branches (and vegetation in general), rather than force myself to treat my digital work as if it were real paints…

Lac Monroe – Evening

©2019, Emma Pittson, “Evening on Lac Monroe”. Photoshop.

This was one of the last sketches that I managed to complete during my lunch break at work.  After this one, they all got some re-tooling on my computer at home.  And not a moment too soon!  The monitors at my office are not very well-calibrated (we’re animators, not graphic designers, after all!), so it was a bit of a shock to bring this piece home and realize I can see a lot more of the underpainting than I realized – or that the horizon line is a little crooked!

Ah, but that water… now THAT I count as a success!

AND if you’re camping at Mont Tremblant, and you’d like to score this view for yourself, just book Huttopia (Ready-to-Camp) site #74!  If you don’t mind a short-but-steep hill, you can scramble down a little private path to the water’s edge, and then it’s just you and the lake!  I must have taken a hundred pictures from that spot in al kinds of weather conditions, so expect to see more Mont Tremblant images in future!