I remember crossing this bridge as a youngster coming up for family vacations to visit my grandparents and family back in the ’60’s and 70’s. Before the new highway was built I believe in the late 70’s, driving Hwy 49 was treacherous. I remember going around corners, my Dad often would honk the horn because of the truckers taking a wide berth. Come to think of it, this road is still quite deadly. I haven’t been down to this part of the river in years, I focus more on the North and Middle Yuba. What a beautiful day to paint, I was the first to arrive.
I was pleased with the beautiful lighting and the rocks of the South Yuba is very different from the rocks of the North Yuba. Subtle colors with a lot of granite, I believe. It felt like painting an egg study.
I decided to bring out more texture later in the studio, and added a little more depth to the water.
I tried my best to marry up my photo to my painting. Bear in mind that those yellow/gold areas are not blotches of green/gold but subtle and more like light washes of color. The blue is not as sharp. No idea why I had a difficult time, usually I can get my photo spot on.
Now to the painting. My shadow under the rock on the bottom right was the hardest part to paint. Whew….Now I know I should have soften up edges but with this kind of rock formations, it is something you do want to delineate otherwise, you have one big mass with no definition. I will work on this in the future, softening edges that benefits the painting without losing form.
The blues are not as rich in my painting and the yellows are more subtle not so acid as in this photo. I had another difficult time getting the shadow correct on that over-hanging rock, something that I will be practicing in the next months.
My Learning Points:
- I need to venture to the South Yuba river more often!
- It is alright to take a painting back to finish. I have had this idea that I need to finish on site because of a belief that I will lose freshness. I have decided this is not true, over-working is when I lose freshness.
- I only touched up areas that I felt would enhance the painting and no more….I repeat NO MORE…so tempting to make it even better.
- I love rough paper, it makes dry brush work easy.
- Practice shadows on rocks!
Get out and Paint en Plein Air….you can thank me later! Remember doing this kind of activity heightens your keen artist eye.