Most of the time if one is standing on the spot, one would see a much wider vista than the one in the picture below of course. The temptation is to paint it all. We are captured by the vastness of nature and our first instinct is to document the beauty before us as it is. How can we improve on something that just too our breath away?
But if we look closely, there are some traps in the scene that some painters will only recognize once they are too far into the painting process and perhaps too late to correct and work their way out of them.
Here I have simplified the planes and set them in a gray scale. Something that you can do in the field using pencil and paper. Can you see the problems?
No? Well let's go over them in the picture below:
Resting spots too close
Almost equal height towers
Moreover, away from the sloping lines and the resting spots, there is little that is of any interest to us. What if we were to narrow our view to the area below?
We still have the problem with the slopes, but we have reduced all the others.
Now let’s say we reduce the angle on the middle slope and bring up the tree line higher in the picture.
Here it is in gray scale
Let’s add some highlights
And finally let’s pull the closest tree line higher and flatten the farthest plane a bit.
For me, this is a much more successful composition than nature gave us. More powerful as a painting. What are your thoughts?