Recently my husband and I have been scanning our slides to put them on our computer as digital images. In this process, I've not only relived many moments of my past, but also have found some lovely images that I'd like to paint.
This photo was taken in 1974 in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness on the Chetco River in Southern Oregon. My neice and I were photographed looking down into a pool--maybe hoping to see a fish.
To begin the painting, I created a sketch that comes in closer to the two figures. I simplified the elements, created a path into the painting by separaing the rocks in the forground.
The first washes help me get a feel for the colors and shapes of this painting.
Next I add rock shapes and detail to the water and add darks to imply deep pools.
I put more color and shape to the rock ledge in the foreground. (This is later all washed away for a fresh start.)
I was excited to paint the figures, since they are the focal point of this painting. I also added some beginning color to the lightest rock ledge the figures are standing on.
At this point I showed the beginnings of this piece to my critique group. They made a lot of helpful suggestions which lead to some refining of the rocks, both in the water and the forground.
I've added some light to the water by lifting. put washes over and scrubbed out some of the lines detailing rocks in the water.
I entirely scrubbed out the rocks in the forground, and placed a multicolored dark wash and covered it with plastic wrap while wet.
The mid-level rock ledge has details added with line, atomizer and pattern work.
I lifted some light patterns in the water with shapes cut in a sheet of mylar and a wet sponge.
I do not want the plastic wrap technique to be so apparent. It can become a gadget, rather than part of the creative process. I like the way it guides me toward giving a more orgainic feel to the rocks. I lift some lines and put darker washes over the initial colors.
Here is the painting as I left the studio for a lunch break. Is it done? Should I add some white speckles with gouache? (It is currently all transparent watercolor.) Is there some other way to make it more dramatic?
Does it engage the viewer?
These are the questions I ask myself toward the end of any painting. This more representaional style is a break from my usual work, so I seem to have less confidence in my own opinion.