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August, Aerin, 2020.

10"x20", acrylic on canvas.


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This painting was based off my memory of driving down a road outside Fairbanks, Alaska. I actually had this composition in mind for several months before I painted it.

In the first thumbnail, you can see how I was trying to fit it into a square-ish aspect ration and it just wasn't working and I scrapped it.


However, a couple months later I bought a canvas that was tall and skinny and I knew immediately what composition I wanted to put on it. 

A photograph of a pencil drawing in a notebook. The drawing depicts a road leading up a hill, with another road splitting off three quarters of the way down the drawing. The drawing is not very detailed but has some textural marks that evoke the image of trees. There is writing that reads "green or orange lights" and "road" with arrows connecting the writing to the drawing.
A photo of a pencil drawing in a notebook. The drawing is not very detailed, but utilizes textural marks to indicate foliage on a hill. There is a street leading up the hill with streetlights alongside it. The image is shaded, with the sky and streetlights appearing white, the hill appearing as a middle grey, and the street being a dark grey. There are two phrases, "streetlights" and "trees" written beside the drawing and linked with arrows. There is also partially cut off writing next to the drawing which reads "orangey lights/maybe ore gre-/ blue sky/ orangey green".
A photo of thumbnail drawing in a sketchbook. On the left there is a drawing showing a road going up a hill, flaked by pine trees. The trees slowly become wiggly lines towards the top of the drawing. On the right is a sketch of a leafy tree made out of loopy pencil marks.

I have a background in digital art, and that has come in handy for me. I like to use digital programs to brainstorm color ideas. In this one, I also tried out having power/phone lines in the composition. Ultimately, I went for a more autumnal color palette, and I scrapped the power lines. 

A photo of an unfinished painting with a blue sky and a road leading up a hill. The hill is partially flat orange, and partially covered in a mottled mix of orange, brown, yellow, and green.
A photo of an unfinished painting with a blue sky and a road leading up a hill. The hill is partially covered in mottled oranges, browns, yellows, and greens. In the foreground there are trees that cover the rest of the hill. The trees are leafy and primarily a yellow green color with some orange mixed in.

I made a lot more thumbnails for this painting than most of the others because this was a fairly difficult perspective for me to figure out. Although it was difficult to sort out, I ended up really enjoying the challenge and it inspired me to push myself to continue doing challenging perspectives.

A photograph of a sketch on canvas which has a digital drawing on top of it. It depicts a road going up a hill, surrounded by green trees. There are two streetlights on the right side with the one closer to the viewer taking up about half of the canvas. The streetlights bathes the road below in orange light. On the left side there are electrical lines flanking the road.

These two in progress photos show both my layering techniques, as well as my biggest mistake with this piece. After putting down the background blobs/trees, I spent about 2 days painting all the trees in the foreground. I was quite detailed with the leaves and the branches. Why was this a mistake? Well....I covered up ALL of it when I started putting down shadows and highlights. What a waste of time! Luckily, I learned my lesson and in all the paintings after this one, I was much more careful to hold off on adding details until I had started putting down shadows and knew which details would be visible in the end. 

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