The beginning of this painting started with a very rough sketch. For the rocky areas, I used one of my latest and favorite methods of adding texture by putting down white gesso with my putty knife, then placing pieces of non-colored rice paper in areas where I planned to paint rocks. The rest of the paper is left for transparent watercolor painting with the exception of the grass. I painted a mixture of color with acrylic to become the grass behind the bear.
Below is the very same area at the end of the painting. I used watercolor to paint the rock. You can see how the rice paper takes the paint in different ways to add wonderful rock-like texture.
The next step was to put white gesso over the bright green colored grass and scrape over it with my notched credit card tool I made. In the image below, I have already painted over the grass, with watercolor. I worked toward the top, first, then painted in a light blue/gray wash for the sand, dropping salt into the wet paint to create another texture. I then painted in the bear and salmon. I used brilliant red to give a clear message that this is a predator with his prey.
In the image below, I have put in more color in the upper rocks, and added more blue green to the grass to differentiate that from the golds and browns in the back. I painted the forward rocks with more intense color and put a gold wash over the sand to bring it into color harmony with the rest of the painting. The water reflection was a simple transparent wash with darker colored lines added after the wash was dry. I disliked the original sky colors, so at this point it is washed off waiting for a new color. While driving into town, the idea of a red sky came to me. I realized that the color red needed to be at the top of the painting to tie the whole piece together.
Here is the piece, finished for now. I feel the red sky was a great choice. It seems my most recent work has a balance of reality and abstractness that is interesting to me. I hope the picture conveys the bear as a fierce predator, guarding his catch. This is a rendering of a scene I saw while rafting last summer. The fish was truly that large, and the bear was indeed an adult. The bear was making it clear to us, as we floated by, that we needed to back off -- he claimed rights to this salmon.