Rush Creek in 15 Minutes

Seemed appropriate that a 15-minute study should be of a place called Rush Creek up in the Eastern Sierras!

Aspens, calm water, reflections, and done. I also used this as an opportunity to check out a new spray fixative (for me). This is an acrylic semi-gloss.

The problem with pastels is they smear if touched, so storing them and framing them can be a bit tricky. Smearing was attenuated well here, but it did take about 8 applications, some of which were a single coat, and the last about 4 or 5, back and forth, out of impatience.

Fixatives often dull colors or darken them, and whites can be especially vulnerable. This one seems to have done okay, perhaps turning the white of the aspen trunks to a creamy color, but the white trunks on the middle right seem to be doing okay.

Interesting thoughts arise . . .

Detail and Edges, ii

Phil Metger’s chapter on detail and edges compares a photograph, with different focusing levels, to a painting.  By this he demonstrates the area of interest – foreground, middle ground, or background.  In general, the foreground or middle ground will contain the area of interest.  Therefore, the edges and details will be greater in these areas.

In this painting, the focal point is the lower right corner, where the rocks meet the small waterfall of the stream.  The two rocks carry the greatest amount of detail, and as we move away from them, details gradually become less and less.  In the background, the right side is a bit more dominant than the left background because the rocks and tree trunks are a bit darker than those on the left.  (What logical lighting reason exists for that, I have no idea!)  I tried to simplify everything the further I got from the lower right rocks and the center foreground water.  Additionally, I limited my palette and tried to tie together all “grounds” of the painting by using the same colors to some extent throughout the painting.

This is my first attempt at water in a stream.  I’m rather pleased with it overall.  Not a masterpiece, for sure, but I am getting where I want to be more each time I paint.

Holiday Cards: Winter Stream

I used six of Peter Sheeler’s videos to create cards for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present, along with using them for practice.  Doing all of these has proven to be more thought-provoking than I realized.  Copying by watching a video is really informative.

In many ways, this was perhaps the most deceptively simple in appearance, but in reality the most complex.  The reason for this is the stream.  Water is never easy to express (at least for me).  There are ripples, reflections, shifting colors to reflect the sky and scenery above.  Besides all this, there is the snow.  It also reflects along the banks of the stream, which you can see in Peter’s video, but which never made it into mine – this is on the center left of the stream.

Mine below has some good areas – certainly there is white! – but bits of it are a tad overworked.  The scan is not as subtle as the painting, either, but I am not really sure how to deal with that.  I decrease some areas of saturation in the image using Lightroom . . . and I am not sure if I am going to include this card in the set because of the smudges and such.