Although I have lots to still work on in the front areas, I'm really, _really_ happy to be finally blocking in the main castle. At this point I'm keeping all details to an absolute minimum. As I go back there will be less and less detail, as it's easier to add more details later when I can judge how they fit into the whole as far as receding goes. The castle reference I'm using is pretty dark and dreary so I'm deciding my color palette as I go and keeping my values lighter. It is a lot harder to lighten things than to darken them, although anything can be changed once the paint is dry. I can also use some glazing techniques in the finish stages, if I keep it light, as each layer of glaze darkens the painting. As I go back I will start adding cooler blues and violets to the earth colors, as the eye sees warm colors as being closer. When I get to the final stages of the background I will actually bring some of the sky over the rooftops to fade them even further into the background. Another trick for achieving distance in a painting is to use tone gradation rather than hard lines for edges. For a painting to look realist a painter needs to mimic the human eye process. We see things clear and sharp when they are close but at a distance things start to melt into each other. There is also an atmospheric effect that comes into play. Some soft edges are still used in the foreground but this is an illusional trick to get your eye to 'slide' over some areas and focus on the sharper images the artist wants as focal areas. I cannot believe it is already the middle of the month and I really need to get some serious amounts of canvas covered in the next 2 weeks. Once I am done using the paintstiks (oil paint in a stick form) then I will move to the tube paints... they can take up to two weeks to dry this time of year, so I need to have as much worked out as possible so I only need to add glazes and highlights.