It was only when I got down to work yesterday that it struck me: 98% of the painting will reside in the same three values, all of which are in the low scale. Hmmm. More easily said than done. High key painting is easier in this regard, because you might misjudge a value and still pull the thing off because of the high contrast. This baby, on the other hand, necessitates really careful sequencing so that the hills recede rather than looking confused.
So yesterday I toned a 24 x 24 and laid in the value foundation. I am shooting for the relative values by tweaking the combinations of white and burnt umber. I'm not worrying too much about the canoes or their occupants (one of whom is Jon, though only I would know that). They are problems to be solved another day. The issue at hand is staging the background, which consists of four ranges of forest, all of which are soft blues. I hope you can find them already.
I'm starting to scare myself. Tomorrow - the beginning of the colour foundation and the blues will begin to show themselves. Wish me luck.