Sometimes, a good rainy month means plenty of time indoors at the easel to finish off old projects and start some new. Today, I finished my second painting of the month, which feels good.
As you know from previous posts, I have been working with a group of artists, visiting and painting in some very beautiful locations up and down our coast. A couple of weeks ago, we picked a sunny fall day to sit at Lindsay Park on Cranberry Lake, under the falling leaves, until the cold swept into our bones and it was time to head home for the day.
When I arrive at an en plein air location, I take a series of photographs to check where I want to work from and, on this occasion, I chose a different spot for a soft pastel rough sketch. So, it wasn’t until I was home that I realized my photos of the scene above were far nicer than the scene I spent time on.
I prepared a 28″ x 22″ canvas with gesso and chose a dark purple ground. From that, I wiped away just a few areas that would need to capture the light. I liked it at this stage…and thought that perhaps just a 30-minute work on canvas would do – it could be a new “style” for me – but I knew I had to keep going.
I have used a bright yellowy-green on various paintings in the past and always loved it. It is eye-catching and warm, and instantly adds a “happiness” to the painting. At this very minimalist stage, I thought about leaving the painting as it was, once again, but in the end continued.
I chose three of the trees in my photograph, leaving out one that was on the far right, and painted the major tree scaffolding over the sky and lake in an almost black combination of Van Dyke brown and ultramarine blue. Palette knife and light molding gel added texture to the tree trunks.
It was then a case of painting on the millions of leaves. The one thing that really got me having to think, consult my reference photos, think again, ask family and friends for suggestions, think again and finally do it, was making the sun shine as brightly as I could. My photo had the sun flaring because I had stood at an angle where the sun was partly hidden by branches in order to take the photo. This flaring caused rainbow-like colours to “ray” out, and the only way of making the sun look like the sun and bright enough for the painting was to copy that as closely as I could.
So, if you see the original (at the top of this post), you will see how I have attempted to do that. I am still very much a student of the elements and I have by no means totally captured the sun’s brilliance as much as I would have liked…but I think I have come close to it.
Oh, and before I close, I mentioned that I had finished two paintings this month. The first was to actually finish one started at Block Bay on Powell Lake. You may recall, in one of the previous posts, the unfortunate event of a gust of wind taking my palette of paints out of my hands and dropping it into the lake. Here’s Summertime at Block Bay.
I hope November has been a good month for you. I would love to see what art projects you have been working on during this rainy time of year, and what elements of nature you find challenging to paint.