I have to admit I was a bit nervous at first onset of planning this painting. Translating a beautiful and atmospheric photo as this one Jodi’s photo was daunting to say the least. I had the confidence at the start of the idea until I knuckled down to paint. But then again, quite normal right? Too much confidence isn’t good in the long run.
It has been a long while since I have put myself on a task like this and I actually really liked having the pressure (not much, Jodi!). It pushed me to put on my best courage and my positive attitude that always seems to carry me through. This has not always been the case. In the past I have been very tough on myself. My inner critic had pushed me out of doing art for seven long years, I will never allow that to ever to happen again. My enthusiasm for art is etched out of a long history of self abasement over my art and my worth. Never again! Alright, that was not intended to be a part of this post, but I am leaving it.
There is something about fog and mist that I love and when I saw Jodi’s photo, the conversation about my translating it to a painting prompted me to give it a try.
I wished that I took more photos of my process but when I am ‘knee deep’ in painting, I am too enthralled with it to give any thought to taking photos.
The whole idea was to outline my process but I will have to do that without any extra photos.
I actually painted three paintings using the reference photo because I wanted to see if I could get better results but ultimately I feel the first painting was the best version.
I first masked off little grass blades throughout the marshy area. I always allow the mask to dry naturally and never rush it with using a blow dryer.
I thoroughly wet down the sky and the foggy area where you see the little snippet of water. I used the following colors (Daniel Smith) for the sky: Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Quinacridone red and Hansa Yellow Light. I always try to use transparent, non staining colors as much as possible, especially for the sky. Cerulean is a semi-transparent, though it is a non-staining color. I was able to manipulate the colors and to etch out my sun. Makes it easier when your color are non-staining. Skies for me is always the hardest at this point. I don’t have enough experience yet with them but I do know this, get in and get out. Make your marks quickly and don’t fiddle or fuss with them. I have a difficult time making my colors rich and dark enough, especially for dramatic skies. I need more practice with skies.
Once the sky and foggy area was bone dry, I used Cerulean Blue and Cobalt Blue and a touch of Quin. Red, I started the first layer of trees. I used my sprayer and alternately sprayed and painted the trees. I also used a rigger brush to scrape and scoot the water and color lightly across to soften the edges. I went by instinct on how much water and color to give. I allowed that layer to dry. I think that I did about three layers, getting darker with each layer. Looking back I would have liked to have given the trees more bulk, they look rather twiggy. Always something to work on!
I sprayed at random the marshy area and dropped in the following colors (Daniel Smith): Quinacridone Gold, Lunar Blue, Burnt tiger’s Eye and Moonstone. I worked out the marshy instinct. I didn’t want to overd0 my detail. I am after feeling and gist rather than photo perfection. On hindsight I probably would have forego the masking. I usually don’t use it but I think my nervousness took over when I decided on using it. If anything, the flicks of white (though I did knock it down with raw sienna) does give it some interest.
The marshy area was the hardest part because either you do too much or not enough. To make an interesting marshy area is hard! Initially this is why I had another two tries of the same scene.
Lastly I painting in a few bushes and then the cattail heads.
I truly loved painting this and yet I am always quite aware of my desire to get better and better. I could pull this painting apart but I think that I know what I need to work on in the future. I do believe that I caught a feeling and essence of the motive of the photo. I have been following an artist by the name of Russell Black who is part of a group of artists such as Frank Webb, Tony Van Hasselt who believes that art should be an expression of self rather than trying to copy or follow a photo. Look these artists up to better understand the concept. Granted, I did take Jodi’s photo and tried to “copy” the design but at least I interpreted it with giving it my own personal flair.
So sorry for the length of this post but I am hoping that if it benefits one person, it is worth it. Thank you for your patience!
*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.