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Frank Palmer
Fireman

USA
1680 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2011 :  09:39:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Your Shay cab conversion is definitely an inspirational project. I’m going to file it away for one of those future projects. Those Mann Creek cars have always been a big hit with me as well.

Frank
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Coaltrain
Crew Chief

956 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  05:49:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
with the shay now running good I have turned my attention back to painting the backdrop. I can't do anything more to the layout until I get this backdrop done. I have learned that the New River area mountians are basically flat on top and they are all the same height, so I wanted to change the shape of the mountian on the backdrop to look more flat and even on top.

I have had lots of help from some forum members but I just am struggling to get this to work out. I have bought books and watched videos but for some reason I just don't get it to work out. it seems that I my biggest struggle has been mixing the correct colors. my trouble starts when I try to get a color to be darker for a shadow or lighter for a highlight, I will add another color to the green and it will change to a totally unexpected color. for example, if I add black to a green to darken it it gets to strange looking, so I tried Paynes gray and it gets too muddy, I tried Phthalo blue (green mix) and my green became a blue green, then I tried red and it turned more of a brown green.

the other struggle I am having is that what I see wet looks way different from what I see the next day when it is all dry. I am not sure how to mix the color to compensate for the color shift when it dries.

I may be way off here but my assumption is that I have to paint the dark shadow color first. I took photo shop and extracted some color samples and the shadow color seems to be a very dark, almost black, green color. So painted the entire mountain shape a black green color. then my next thought would be to paint a middle green color and then a highlight color. I am trying to keep this simple and have a dark shadow, a medium general tree green color, and a highlight color. My hope that as I mixed my three colors the variations from mixing will give me different colors within those colors. last night I tried to just work in one area to see what would happen and when i looked at it this morning I was disappointed how black it all looked and how the highlights looked like light blue.

I am not going to give up on this, so if any artist out there have some more pointers I would sure love to hear them. the image shows what I have painted with and without scenery in front of it. From what people tell me that area is generally pretty hazy and I would like to get that look. Mark Chase gave me some pointers on my first backdrop to create the haze and it seemed to work but I did not like that shape of that mountian.

here is the example of what I want to paint
http://milliverstravels.com/wordpress/wp-content/images//New-River-Gorge-bridge280.jpg



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kirk
Fireman

Sweden
4739 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  06:31:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You have entered a very ambitious project! Not easy to do reaslitically. For the choice of green, I'd stay far removed from anything as agressive as Phtalo (both greens and blues). A sap green should blend some wonderful soft tones (a real one, not the hue, as for example Golden's) from a good brand. Rembrandt has the finest I think. Alternatively the slightly more difficult to tame Hooker's Green. The closer you get to the viewer the stronger and warmer the color. Adding a light yellow ochre for light areas, an oxide red or even burnt umber for the darker tones to keep it warm and cozy. I'd paint in the shadows last, but you can also alternate. Try avoiding mixing with pure white, but add a naples yellow or light ochre to the white to keep the warmth. In the background you tone down the green with white and blue (an ultramarine works fine)... The contrast is way smaller in the distance than you imagine. Mix all acrylics lighter tha you think too, as they dry darker. Finally, when you have a photo on paper like you have, cut a small hole in a white paper and look at the local colors in the hole. With the neutral reference of white the colors a quite different from what you think you see... then mix for the real color! Good luck!

Troels Kirk
Näsum, Sweden
http://coastline.no13.se
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quarryman
Fireman

USA
1130 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  07:16:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jeff-

I appreciate the effort you are putting into this. It looks to me like you are very close to getting it. It also looks like you are being somewhat precise.



Now that you have put some time in painting a backdrop, you can see all the things that are wrong with mine. [:-banghead]

You can see from the bottom how I started out with white gesso, then used a 2 inch brush to lay down a green/brown mess to block in the shapes. Each layer of paint is thin enough to let the color below it show through. Lots of layers, going over and over with a narrow range of colors, letting that dry, going over it again. As soon as it starts looking done I stop. I don't keep working on it until it is perfect, obviously.

Look at Tom Sullivan's layout thread. I like what he did with his backdrop.

The colors should be flat toward light, the shapes should suggest the wooded mountainside. It doesn't have to be good, just not bad.

I guess there is no quick way to learn it. You just have to keep trying. As a musician, I would think you're well suited to the task.

Mark

Visit my Piedmont & East Blue Ridge Railroad
http://www.eastblueridge.com
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Coaltrain
Crew Chief

956 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  10:45:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by quarryman

Jeff-


Now that you have put some time in painting a backdrop, you can see all the things that are wrong with mine. [:-banghead]




[:-bigeyes2][:-bigeyes2][:-bigeyes2] sorry, I don't see it.

you art guys make it sound so easy, "just mix this and that, throw it on here and there, a little wipe, a little scrape, done". you guys just kill me. I think I am going to build a brass backdrop, now that I can do.
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Coaltrain
Crew Chief

956 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  10:59:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
one more question, and I see this might also have two different answers. Kirk says to paint the shadows in last, Mark seems to paint them in first with the use of a dark base color. To me it seems easier to paint the shadows in first, BUT....it seems that it takes more paint to cover and brighten the colors on a black back ground. also, when I mix my colors I am doing so on a white board and when I paint them on the dark back ground they look different and seem to dry much darker. now all this could be my imagination.
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CieloVistaRy
Fireman

USA
5212 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  11:03:52 AM  Show Profile  Send CieloVistaRy an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Jeff,

I would say that you aren't going to get any better advice than what you are getting from Troels; he is the master in residence where art is concerned. That being said, I don't see anything wrong with the sky and the farthest three mountains (except that as Troels say, the transitions should be a lot more smoother), I think the colors there are perfect otherwise. The foremost mountain would, I think, be a lot more detailed to help a lot more with transition to background scenery. Perhaps you could use the stippling technique there to create detailed trees?

If all else fails, you could take the Tim K. route and just hire an artist to do it.

Arthur

Cielo Vista Railway (on30)
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CieloVistaRy
Fireman

USA
5212 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  11:05:29 AM  Show Profile  Send CieloVistaRy an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I would add, also, that from bottom to top, the colors would also change (lighter), and this would help reduce the flat look of the mountains.

Arthur

Cielo Vista Railway (on30)
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mabloodhound
Fireman

USA
5539 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  11:58:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think Troels' advice is on point. And he did say the acrylics will be darker when dry.
Troels also said you can mix the process of shadows; some in the beginning and some at the end. You are right that it does take more to cover a dark color.
In Troels' DVD he shows how he uses different colors as he paints, all wet, and gets the variations he wants.
He also uses a Tupperware type tub for a pallet and just keeps mixing colors in that. In between painting sessions he just puts the cover on and when he comes back the paint is still good.

Dave Mason
D&G RR (Dunstead & Granford) in On30
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”~Benjamin Franklin
The 2nd Amendment, America’s 1st Homeland Security
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musser1965
New Hire

20 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  1:17:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jeff,
I have lived in WV my entire life and have been to the New River Gorge many, many times. I am sure that I am not alone when I say that your backdrop work is (especially with the foreground scenery in place) pretty darn accurate. I know it still may not be "doing" what you want but you should be encouraged by the fact that it definitely says West Virginia to the casual observer or a native. By the way, I am curious about your method of tree making or what you used to make your diorama. I am planning my HO Virginian Rwy now and your scenery is really what I am after. If you get a break in backdrop painting could you give some pointers?
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Coaltrain
Crew Chief

956 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  2:22:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
well I found some sap green and I am going to give that a shot. I am just going to keep working at it. I have some time off over the next week, and besides some ice fishing and I going work a lot on this, I will post progress photos and see if we can't steer this thing in the right direction. Maybe I will just take Brian Bonds advice and make my back drop so hazy that all you see is a gray sihouette of the mountian, which he says would also be correct. I hope to go visit WV next year to see it for myself, but from what I hear it is pretty much like a jungle in the summer.

Musser1965, the trees are Super trees and the rest is pretty much just WS ground foam. If you search for my old HO layout post in the Mid-scale forum you can find some information on my scenery methods. I will be posting as I do scenery for this layout but it is going to be a while, it would have been sooner if this [:-censored] backdrop was not giving me such a fit.

I have considered hiring an artist to paint this thing, but I am not sure where to look.
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quarryman
Fireman

USA
1130 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  2:51:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Coaltrain


Maybe I will just take Brian Bonds advice and make my back drop so hazy that all you see is a gray sihouette of the mountian, which he says would also be correct. I hope to go visit WV next year to see it for myself, but from what I hear it is pretty much like a jungle in the summer.




Not just hazy from summer humidity. Back when all the coke ovens were charged, the air quality in the New River Gorge was terrible. Industrial smog was thick.

Mark

Visit my Piedmont & East Blue Ridge Railroad
http://www.eastblueridge.com
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racedirector
Engine Wiper

Australia
333 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2011 :  5:38:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit racedirector's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just catching up on this and you seem to be going great guns! I like you backdrop so far, it will look even better when you are done. No arty type here, Troels & co are just amazing at what they can do, I for one could never match them. With that said, you are doing a much better job than I could ever do! BTW, chuckled at your line about a brass backdrop... I liked that :)

Bruce Nordstrand, Riverstone, NSW, Oz-stralia

Back in HO...and stayin there!
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Carrie Creek
Fireman

USA
1202 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2011 :  1:27:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jeff,
Take this with knowing that I haven't yet tried to paint my backdrop, (afraid to try) the top of the foreground mt. seems to have too hard of a outline. Can you soften it with more trees that have varied heights? I am not seeing much wrong with the colours I'm seeing on my monitor. Maybe lighten the lower trees some to blend with your modeled trees.

As far as I'm thinking you have done a great job of matching the photos you're working from.

Phil Z
POR (press on regardless)
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dallas_m
Fireman

USA
4271 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2011 :  2:27:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oooh ... I'd like to have something useful to say ... like what you've done so far ... look forward to seeing what you'll do next ... meanwhile, would you settle for some encouragement?

Maybe one hair-brained suggestion ... trying to work out "the whole deal" of what you want to do vs. that immense backdrop is naturally quite daunting. What about prepping some scraps ... 8x10, 10x16 ... whatever size makes sense and try following the various suggestions (go with Troels first!) to make little "slices" of backdrop. Not that you'll stick those all together, just that you can toss the ones that don't work and keep the ones that do work (with working notes, hopefully) to help you along when you feel ready to tackle the big one. [:-thumbu]

PS -- Go to WV reasonably often, and what you've already done is certainly in the right ballpark. It looks and feels like WV to me ... maybe not the "exact" slice of WV you're after right now ... but you'll certainly get there.

Cheers,
Dallas

Chambers Gas & Oil -- structure build
Quality craftsmanship with a sense of humor!
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