Corel Painter X : The Great Outdoors - Landscape

8/22/2012 5:35:39 PM
Figure 1. Trees a crowd.

The Big Picture

The first thing to do with a complex subject—simplify it. Traditional artists have a great low-tech way to reduce detail and just see a composition of light and shadow. It’s called squinting. When you do that, you’ll see past the individual branches and notice that the entire upper half of the image is mostly dark, with just a few patches of light as “negative shapes.” The bottom one-third is, basically, a mid-tone that visually anchors the strong vertical dark shapes. For me, the most intriguing areas are the very bright negative shapes between the tree trunks. They also make a bold horizontal band in contrast with the dark vertical shapes.

Combining some techniques used in earlier lessons, you’ll paint both with and without Clone Color, and we’ll use tinted paper. The first stage in your painting will simplify shapes and minimize detail. Later, you’ll add selected details, like a few bits of sky showing through tree branches and patches of sunlight on the grass.

Color Settings

Before you start painting, let’s try a new color scheme from the Underpainting Palette (found in the Window > Underpainting menu). I like the Classical color scheme, shown in Figure 4. That chocolate brown looks yummy, and there is now less detail in the branches, an unexpected benefit.

Figure 2. Classical trees.

Choose New Color Set from Image in the Color Sets popup menu. It will be useful sooner or later, probably both. This new color set, shown in Figure 3, might look a bit different from yours. I chose a slightly larger swatch size: 8 × 16 pixels. I also changed the sort order to LHS so that the swatches are arranged primarily according to Lightness (L). You can choose to have them sorted by Hue (H) or Saturation (S), whichever makes more visual sense to you.

Figure 3. Classical colors.

Get Set

It’s quick and easy to make a new color set from the current image. I suggest doing it routinely as part of your basic preparation for painting with a photo. You’ll have it handy whenever you need to choose a color in harmony with the source image.

Sample a medium gray-green from the Color Sets Palette. (See, it was useful sooner than you thought!) Choose Canvas > Set Paper Color. Create a Quick Clone—can you guess what the background color will be?

Tool Marks

Let’s use Oil Pastel for this painting. It will produce a smooth, creamy effect without bristles. Notice that Oil Pastel variants come in different tip shapes. I like the Chunky group with an elliptical tip, but you might prefer round, rectangular, or triangle-shaped tips. Size is more important than shape for the preliminary painting. At a 30-pixel size, using Clone Color, you can “rough in” the basic tree trunks and major branches with very few strokes. Figure 4 shows this stage, with Tracing Paper on.

Figure 4. Roughing it.

Size and Detail

When you paint with Clone Color or Cloner variants, the bigger your brush the less detail you will have. In general, you’ll want to begin with a large brush size for the broad strokes. Details can be created later with smaller size variants.

Continue painting the upper section of the image with a 30-pixel Oil Pastel, using directional strokes that follow the main branches. Most of the dark upper section of the trees will have no detail at all, just some color variation. Use shorter strokes in a variety of directions to fill that area. Figure 5 shows how fresh and lively this can look. Don’t try to make your work look exactly like mine, and don’t even undo strokes you don’t like. Paint right over them—just as in real life!

Figure 5. Fresh paint.

The same basic technique works well on the grass and that strip of trees in the background. You are deliberately eliminating details, but not variety. Don’t make your brush strokes too smooth. Figure 6 is developing nicely.

Figure 6. Rough enough.

Artistic License

That bright horizontal strip I like so much is practically pure white, and I think it will look too harsh if I clone it in. Let’s turn off Clone Color and choose a lemony yellow from the Color Sets Palette. Paint those negative shapes in the same quick-and-dirty style we’ve been using. At this point I created a soft edge for the painting to blend with the paper color. That is done automatically with another cool feature on the Underpainting Palette. It’s the Jagged Vignette on the Edge Effects menu. Turn the default 25% down to about 10% to make the edge this narrow. Figure 7 shows the sunny yellow strip and the vignette edge.

Figure 7. Soften the edges.

Let’s soften some of the edges inside the painting, too. Switch to a Blender for that purpose. I used the Soft Blender Stump 20 to gently smooth and smear over the harsh color transitions.

You’re ready to bring in some details now: bright patches of sky and grass. Using a smaller Oil Pastel, about 20 pixels, dab on some spots of color, using Tracing Paper for reference if needed. We expect sky to be blue, but there isn’t any sky blue in the color set. There’s no law against going outside the color set, but I found some pinkish tones that worked out fine. Figure 8 has these bright spots added. All they need now is a bit of softening with the Blender. The finished painting appears at the beginning of this lesson.

Figure 8. A few bright spots.

You Fill Up My Screen

Working with a large image? Make the most of your screen space with Screen Mode Toggle (Cmd/Ctrl+M). Toggle visibility of all palettes with the Tab key. Make zooming and scrolling easy with keyboard controls. The spacebar gives you the grabber hand, while spacebar +Cmd/Ctrl lets you click to zoom in. Add the Option/Alt key to that combination to zoom out. It’s important to look at your image at 100 percent magnification fairly often, as some textures and effects look weird otherwise. Double-click the Magnifier tool to get 100 percent size instantly.

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