September 2, 2010
This week’s featured artist is Mitch Baird, a fantastic Pacific Northwest painter who specializes in beautiful scenic landscapes.
I chose to highlight Mitch’s landscape paintings today specifically because of the way he manages to create a realistic representation of visual space while still retaining a painterly, loose style.
In Humble Homestead, below, our focus is initially drawn to that sunlit house. . . but the very next thing you’ll probably notice is all the space around it!
So what are the keys to creating depth in a painting? Just take a look at Mitch’s work and you’ll see them all. In the foreground, colors become more vibrant while brushstrokes become larger and more textural.
Objects far away are correctly rendered much smaller (something that many artists struggle with) and there’s also that lovely “atmospheric haze” that appears—albeit subtly—in the distance.
Beyond all that, let’s not ignore the amazing colors in these paintings. Check out the wide range of hues in this next piece, entitled Moran at Sun Up.
Instead of a vague “dirt” color, the ground is red, yellow, brown, and green. Mitch’s evergreen trees are a rich, deep, green-black, and those far-off mountains are a gorgeous mixture of pink, orange, cream, purple and blue.
That’s a lot of color for an artist to throw into one painting, but he pulls it off due to an excellent composition.
Note the faint zig-zag pattern that crosses the canvas—it starts as a series of dots in the lower right corner (moving diagonally up and to the left) then “zags” back to the right via a line of trees in the mid-distance. The foothills of the mountains form a third line leading once more to the left.
Using that simple pattern to guide our eyes, Mitch successfully directs us through the lower 2/3rds of the painting, where otherwise we might have gotten lost.
And here’s the last painting I wanted to show you, mostly because I just liked it quite a bit—but many of the same techniques have been employed to make it a successful painting as well.www.MitchBaird.com.