I've decided to put ops sessions - and other things in the hobby that I'm pretty good at - on the back burner in exchange for getting more scenery and structures done. The structures have gone pretty well - albeit slowly. The scenery . . . not so much. Case in point - the Valley Coal area.
Here's an overview panorama of the area before I started (yeah - it's looked like this for months, if not years):
And a closer-up view, with the grass starting to fill in to the left of the road:
After a a few fits and starts (and no small amount of coaching from Bill), I ended up with this:
The grass is 10mm static grass, with a few colors mixed together. The coal lot is Highball cinders.
I think I really should have sifted them more first. It all looks WAY too coarse and out of scale. Not bad for a quarry or open-pit mine, but not such a great look for pulverized coal in a parking lot. And I really don't like the "salt & pepper" look of the Highball cinders. Not sure why they mixed in such a contrasting stone, but it's doesn't look good at all to my eye.
So I moved to the east (aisle-side) of the tracks to do some more static grass.
And some more overview shots:
While I know I have to give myself some space and time to develop my scenery skill, it's still pretty frustrating. The grass is looking ok - though a bit sparse. I used only 10mm, so I'm considering filling in with more, shorter, static grass. Thoughts on that??
Also, I really think I'm going to scrape up and redo the coal lot area with some much finer - and a bit more uniform - cinders. If you have any suggested alternatives on how to salvage the area, I'd love to hear them :^)
All in all, I just have to remind myself that I'm breaking new ground here (no pun intended). I've gotten pretty good at benchwork, trackwork, and wiring and actually have come to enjoy it. But I suspect that's mostly because I have a LOT of practice doing benchwork/trackwork/wiring. Except for the Christmas layout that I did - start to finish - in about a month, I've never done much in the way of scenery. And it shows.
At least the area looks marginally better than it did. And I'm doing my best to learn from my mistakes so I can do better next time.