Thursday, July 29, 2010

The 5th layer of streams with rapids

Earlier I made the statement that I think there 4 layers in a painting of water with rapids, but I was just looking over a painting from the series and I think a 5th layer might be worthy of it's own category - underwater reflected light from air bubbles.  This would make the list:
  1. Stream bottom (underwater rocks)
  2. Reflected/refracted light from underwater bubbles
  3. Water surface
  4. Reflections on water's surface
  5. Bubbles/foam on top of water's surface
You can see this near white water where bubbles are forced under the surface and often vivid greens are apparent (from the sunlight (yellow) mixed with the blues of the water).

This is definitely going to take some time to master ...

Stream Study #4

Here's the last painting I did on the trip ...

"Stream Study IV"

In all painting it's important to simply.  I found it particulary important and difficult simplifying paintings of streams with rapids because of the complex interrelationship between the objects.  The rocks shape the water, and the water (over time) shapes the rocks.  If one removes of relocates a rock all the surrounding objects are impacted.

My goal is to get comfortable enough with the subject to be able to arbitrarily move elements around in order to arrive at a more compelling composition. In each of these paintings I took successively more and more liberty is altering the scene - but this is much more complex than altering an ocean seascape scene given the complexity of the layers.  I sense there is a lifetime of work to pursue here :-)

Stream Study #3

Here's the next in the series ...

"Stream Study III"


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stream Study #2

Streams are fascinating in how there are 3 (or 4) distinct layers that are sometimes visible:
  1. Stream bottom (underwater rocks)
  2. Water surface
  3. Reflections on water's surface
  4. Bubbles/foam on top of water's surface
Here's the next study that I'll post ...

"Stream Study II"

This example shows a large underwater rock that I found interesting but few reflections other than reflections of skylight.

Stream Study #1

Recently I've been traveling and I decided to focus on painting a subject that I love but which is difficult to paint and hard to find where I live - streams and rapids.

Here's the first one I'll share, with more to come ...

"Stream Study I"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quest to paint whitewater

This week I've been heading out to find and paint whitewater.  Logistically I'm finding it much harder to get to the places where I really want to setup.  Lots of hiking and scrambling over wet or mossy rocks.

I'll post some images of the work as the week progresses ...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Santa Cruz Plein Air Festival

I just framed the two pieces I painted this week for the Santa Cruz Plein Air.  This week was tough because it was foggy and cold most days.  By the middle of the week I figure out it was best to drag my feet around the studio all morning and go out in the afternoon and evening.  After much hunting around and working my way up and down the coast I found two beautiful evening scenes.

"Leaning In"
Pastel, 9x12

"Evening Hour, Pleasure Point"
Pastel, 9x12

 Now I'm off to drive over to the coast to deliver the work.   It's been a busy week with over 500 miles logged on the car so far.