The first challenge is to paint a landscape using either or both of the two photos above as reference. The first photo is of the old apple tree that was in our back yard. The second photo is one I took along a highway in NE Oklahoma. I liked the play of light and shadow in that one.
Each artist determines what he/she wants to learn from the challenge and how much planning they want to do before starting the painting. Several of the artists mentioned they wanted to learn to paint greens while others were interested in a looser technique. We are asking the artists to offer comments about their work when they post their painting on the 20th of each month. We hope they will share with us what their goals were, what they like or don't like about their painting, and some of the things they learned.
They are encouraged to do notans, thumbnails, sketches and color swatches before beginning their painting, although these are not required to participate in the challenge.
Below is a notan I did as an example, using a Sharpie marker, then cropped to show different views.
And here are a couple of thumbnail sketches in graphite to show values and light/shadow placement.
The sketch from the apple tree photo was posted on the blog earlier but here it is again.
Doing the notan, thumbnails, and sketch was great because I know I need to look more at the ratio of light/dark contrasts, angles and what leads the eye out of the sketch or painting. It teaches me to think about how to keep the eye from leaving the work and reinforces how important values are.