Conté pierre noire pencil on Cartiera Magnani Velata paper (cream tone, 8″ x 8″ ), August 2008.
Here is the second crit of Brian's thumbnail sketches, and after this we'll move on to color compositions. I have to say that I really admire Brian's enthusiasm in all of his pastel work. For this particular project, he has even gone so far as to buy a couple of new books to support this study. Way to go!
Brian's post, More Abandoned Barn Sketches, follows my Thumbnail Critique of his first sketches, and this project is referenced here in a past post at Pastel (pastelsblog.blogspot).
I like the square format, and your complete elliptical circle around the barn is a good tool for attaching the building to the terrain. Don't make it too perfect, though. In our minds, we want our landscapes to be irregular .
Pay serious attention to the intervals of space given to each element in the overall image. Try this experiment. Put away the photos, and also your prior sketches. Now, draw the scene from memory. Weight the elements for compositional reasons, not descriptive reasons.
You said, "With Casey’s comments on Wolf Kahn and Hans Hoffman I’ve gone back and done some more reading and will continue to explore the “push-pull” aspects of this piece - the visual weight of the sky versus the land masses and also the dynamic that warmer and cooler colors will have within the piece once I get that far along."
You have four bands of terrain, which I like. Several ways to handle that. One is to keep the four, but camouflage two by making them analogous colors and the same value. An important one will be to not make the bottom two bands be equal height (or depth, if you will).
Kahn does a lot with sky colors to either push the eye down upon his buildings, or conversely to allow them to breath and float up. But, what do we do with linear composition to accomplish this?
Here is a sketch I did in Photoshop to arrange the same elements you are using, but giving different weights to each element. The major lines refer to one another, which unifies the scene, and keeps the eye inside the picture plane, and on the barn. A cunning aspect is that the fore and mid (behind or above the barn) ground are roughly the same size like in your sketch, but the balance has shifted to the fore and barn elements because these two elements are drawn a little larger, and the angles are now offset rather than being parallel.
When I used to get crits from the Famous Artist School, the artist would offer these re-drawn sketches. I hope that's O.K. for you, Brian. Sometimes a drawing speaks better than words, huh?