Jodi’s Morning Mist

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.


Image may contain: 1 person, indoor
My art desk where I plan and plot my next paintings



The whole idea was to outline my process but I will have to do that without any extra photos.


On Saunders 300# 11 x 14 inches


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.






20 thoughts on “Jodi’s Morning Mist

  1. Margaret what a great post, it really heighlights for me the issues with Commision painting….the feelings experienced, due to the expectations we imagine. Painting from a photo despite having never visited an area can be a challenge as the artist will always only see what is in that snippet, and not be able to grasp the feeling and emotion of the place or thing being painted. Although I don’t paint landscape, I have the same issues you have talked of when painting animals I have never met, on the plus, I love how with landscapes you can really put your stamp as an artist into your work, something I feel is hard to do with pet portraits, as I always have a worry that I have not captured the essence of a persons pet.
    I adore the colours you have used in this painting, you are the queen of landscape for me, and please don’t ever stop as I would dearly miss your talent…and so would many many more people.
    Thank you for a great explanation of your process 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh so very true! Of course this wasn’t a commission but it sure felt like one because I challenged myself to translate it. I failed to mention that I won’t paint an area that I have never been to so I approached it with trying for a creative and atmospheric sense of place and I let my own rules slide. With that photo in front of me, it was hard not to follow it! Next time (I will do it again for practice) I plan on going by memory and trying for more creativity, boy it is hard to do that! I have done commissions with people portraits and it is nerve wracking to say the least! I can’t imagine how you do it! I have known people who gave up on portrait commissions because of trying to please the customer and it was too stressful. Thank you Becky for all your kind words and observations! No, I won’t be quitting any time soon because I have learned my lesson in the past. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent post which brings forth issues that many artists experience. I love the painting and would suggest, (having experienced self doubt during my career), that you ‘ignore the Chattering Monkeys – the little demons that fill our heads with reasons why we should not and cannot do something.’ Keep making your beautiful paintings and those little demons will go away….I think they get bored. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend. Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely work, Margaret! I think that pushing the envelope in our art is always going to be uncomfortable and self-doubt causing, because that is the nature of it and how we grow as artists….that’s why it is called stepping outside the old comfort zone….it’s not comfortable! No one grows or learns without engaging with frustration….I hope that you can look on this work with fresh eyes and see all the things that are good and lovely about it too, not just the niggling little “oh I wish I’d done……differently” I think the thing to take away from this one is that you have really effectively captured a certain ethereal quality that gives the painting a wonderful feeling – so, WELL DONE! both for dealing with the frustration and also for producing something special!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hilda…you nailed it exactly with your words! I do believe you have been there, done that! I do believe that this was a wonderful exercise and I felt I won this time. I agree, it is the ethereal quality that I wanted to go for in the first place and I feel that I accomplished that. I think that is why I mentioned Russell Black because I didn’t want to simply “copy” a photo. The rewards and the joy of painting outweighed the frustration, that is for certain! I think as artists, a little frustration and uncertainty it good….keeps us humble and reaching beyond. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Margaret – as if I couldn’t love this painting enough because of how absolutely beautiful it is and so “Margaret!” But then to read all the effort and love and joy and thought you put into it – not to mention the stress!!!!! And then that you took the time to explain your painstaking, but loving and joyful process. I am beyond humbled, beyond blessed, overwhelmingly filled with joy! You are absolutely amazing! I wish there were better words to express my gratitude and to let you know what a blessing this is to me!!! I love it so much, and I love you even more for doing it! xoxo Sorry it took me so long to see – of all days – it’s my babysitting day with my granddaughter. We’ve been very “busy” – you know – playing and holding and taking our first trip to the local supermarket together showing off to all our friends there – lol! So sorry to make you wait for my response. This is the first I’ve been on my computer all day. Thank you so so so much!!!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww…..I figured that you were busy. I had to trust that you loved it. 🙂 no worries. I know how it is to have the Grandkids to babysit and enjoy….precious times for sure! I hope that I didn’t come off as being stressed because it was so much more fun than stressful. Part of being human and an artist, lol. I wished I had taken more photos but when I am in that zone, well, it is so hard to take the time to take photos. I am so honored to have a go at the painting and then you loved it, I am blessed! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Margaret – you did not come across as more stressed than joyful – I loved every word of the post and the thoughts of every minute you put into it! How awesome that art brought us together in such a special way!!! xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  5. dawnmarie

    I love the advancing pop off the page the cools with warms give. This one looks like some kind of sky lights phenomenon like Aurora Borealis.


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