A look at how I created my latest piece ‘Impressions of An Early Morning in Umbria’.
Early Morning in Umbria
When You Have To Get Up Early
Blood tests! Yippee! No, not really, but if you can’t motivate yourself for most things what hope have you got?
It was an early morning alarm (by our standards) and then just out of the house as the sun was beginning to rise over the side of the mountain. I had to drive to the hospital in Citta della Pieve about 25 minutes away.
Breathtaking Views Of The Sun Rise
I was still half asleep (or felt like it!) as I started the drive but I turned a corner and the sun was casting a beautiful pink light onto Chiusi Chianciano on the hill opposite. I could even see the glow on Montepulciano in the far distance. The sun was reflecting off windows and it was really a spectacular sight. But I didn’t have time to stop as I had an appointment to get to. I have taken shots of that view before, like the image above ‘View to Chiusi from Moiano’.
Citta della Pieve
It is a beautiful drive up to Citta della Pieve. I have written about Citta della Pieve in my blog before and also have a YouTube video of images. One of my own favourite images of the town was taken from the hospital car park (Citta Della Pieve Skyline).
After the appointment I decided to take the scenic drive from Citta della Pieve to Po’ Bandino where I could go to the supermarket. It was on that road that I saw a breathtaking view and pulled over to look.
Finding the View
The sun was still low in the sky and cast beautiful mixtures of light and shadow on the pasture in front of me. In the middle ground, some woodland looked breathtaking and then the view of the lake and the mountains beyond was hazy. It was so quiet and peaceful and the air was fresh and really made me feel good.
I didn’t want to miss this chance. I knew this would be a photo that would need work but equally I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. So I took one shot with my travel camera, which by luck was in my handbag, got back in the car and moved on quickly.
Creating ‘Impressions Of An Early Morning In Umbria’
Trees As Anchor Points
Back home I started working on the photograph. I wanted to create that dreamy, tranquil, peaceful feeling that I got looking at the scene.
The very first thing that had caught my eye when I stopped the car originally was the way the light fell on the skeletons of a couple of the trees in the woodland. I wanted to make them the anchor points for the final image.
Getting To Work
I began by cropping the image, removing a large amount of the pasture and the sky above the mountains in the distance to create a panorama.
Then I worked with the lighting to emphasize the central woodland area and insert some contrasting tones. The image looked good but as always I had an image in my head that I wanted to create. I now needed to create that dreamy effect I was looking for, so I turned to the software programme Dynamic Auto Painter (DAP).
Using Dynamic Auto Painter To Full Potential
DAP is a great programme. I use it a lot, but to really get the best out of it you need to familiarize yourself with all of the facilities it offers. For this image I chose the preset ‘Realism’ but I adjusted all of the settings to ensure I got the look I wanted.
That comes with practice by the way. Sure you can hit a button and a finished image will appear before your eyes even in the style of some famous artists such as Van Gogh. But the skill is in playing with the settings. Learning what preset and associated settings will produce in order to create something with your own style. I have spent many hours ‘playing’ (that is to say learning) with the programme to understand what it can and can’t do. I now know how to get the effects I want.
A Dreamy Landscape
The final image was just what I wanted to achieve, just the way I had imagined it when I took the photo. I think the skeletons of the trees do just what I wanted, the tones in the woodland are very pleasing. And I love the dreamy effect, just what I had seen in my head! You can buy a print of ‘Impressions of Early Morning in Umbria’ from my RedBubble Store.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!