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Rock River and Whitman – 2

August 20, 2013
Rock River North of Whitman; Oil on Canvas Panel 8" x 10"

Rock River North of Whitman; Oil on Canvas Panel 8″ x 10″

It rained through the night. Thick clouds and occasional mist and rain falling in the morning. I decided to head over to Sinnissippi and see what I could find. First stop I made was in the parking lot at the north end of the rose garden. As I parked the car, I noticed the atmospheric effect on the trees across the river. It was even more dramatic as I looked to the south from the rivers edge.

Because of the heavy atmosphere, it was a simple composition. Sky and water were virtually the same value and color. The land mass, was a similar value with subtle changes to hint at details. First thing I did was make a sketch of the scene to lock in the design. While I was sketching, I noticed movement in the water. A raft (group) of ducks was making their way toward me. No doubt hoping for food. That would give me some action in the painting. I loved the shape of the landmass and especially the reflections in the water. Good thing that I took a few minutes to lock in the design.

After sketching the scene onto my canvas, I placed a pale wash of Alizaron Crimson in the sky and water sections. I made a grayish-green mixture for the landmass and filled it in as one shape. I spent a lot of time adding dark’s and white to refine and define the nuances of the land mass.

As I said, I was happy that I took a few minutes to sketch my design. Within the first fifteen to twenty minutes painting that investment paid off. Besides the duck factor, the weather made an impact. A slight breeze picked up wiping out all of the reflections on the water. Had I not sketched the design and therefore caught the reflection details, this would have been a much different and even boring painting.

My students are sure to hear this lesson a lot in the years to come.

Oh, another thing happened, or almost did. I was painting at the edge of the river. About two feet from rocks and another two feet to to the water. I was virtually in the river. As I was finishing the painting, I moved my painting hand the wrong way. My brush hit one of the brushes in my left hand and it did the most interesting twirling routine on its way toward the water. It happened so fast that I could only watch the brush spinning and rolling. The brush hit a rock, back into the air moving toward the water. It hit the rock one more time and spun back towards me before coming to a stop on the rock. I was able to get onto the rocks and retrieve this brush. Later I thought how funny andironic it could have been if I fell into the river while retrieving the brush. Nice to have a spot of good luck.

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