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Painting like it's 1899

FEBRUARY 3, 2010

I had a fun job recently to paint a landscape for a book cover.  I won't reveal the title until the book is published.  The assignment was to paint a specific place but there was not a good source image to work from.  I had to assemble this scene  with room on top and bottom for type.  Being able to paint a landscape so it looks like it's an old painting is harder than just painting those colors fresh.  Painting a blue sky in a faded and yellowed key is a green.  You have to know that in the painting that color is blue.  That takes some trust and restraint.

Finally, to complete the vintage look I applied cracks on the painting.  This is always a crap shoot for me.  I marvel how Marc Burckhardt  http://www.marcburckhardt.com/  can get such a good reliable crack pattern when he does it.  Mine is always a mess of a pattern but it works.


My hint for doing these kinds of scenes is the use of golf courses for reference.  The neatly trimmed grass often meets a wonderful bank of trees that are easy to see and provided they are the right kind of trees.  

I hear this book is one of a series so I look forward to going back in time again soon.

This is the first version without the cracks and a bit too yellow keyed.  I decided to alter the sky and grass for the final files.
I had fun painting this sky.  I blocked it in and did it kind of sloppy and was happy to see it kind of work as is.  I slightly softened some edges but left it rough to keep the look of a painting.
I actually rub shoe polish into the cracks so that they are a nice reddish brown rather than black.