Peaceful lake in progress and musings

Good evening (or morning, afternoon) everyone. I’ve started working on a piece that’s a little outside my comfort zone about a week ago. Trying to grow in my art. I normally avoid painting man-made objects but I decided to go ahead and work on improving those skills.

The object of this painting is a small lake surrounded by trees with a dock and a rowboat in it. Definitely not my normal subject matter but I’m working on my skills and process so here we go. First a sketch…

I actually looked at reference photos and everything. Side note.: this was the last sheet of paper in this sketchbook. The previous sketchbook lasted several years. This one less than a year.

Then came the background washes and layers. So many layers…

Initial wash

Then I added the background trees. I always get nervous about these. Too light, too dark, too much detail?

Initial background trees. I made sure to lightly draw a line where the far bank would be to keep it from leaning.

Then I added the water and reflections. It always feels difficult to get them right. I often see other artists that create these perfect reflections… not me apparently. I always feel they need to be done in a single wash to avoid muddling the water(pun intended).

Reflections on the water and some washes in the foreground

Next I added some more sky, darkened the lower part of the background foliage and the dock and row boat.

Working on the boat, dock, and the water, a little something extra for the sky

Next I added the background washes the foreground trees and their foliage. The trunks you always want to think about how you want the ball to look. Where the sun is coming from. Where your highlights will be. When it comes to the foliage I always say silent prayer when I do these because I’m never quite sure how to do it. It’s something that I need to do a million times if I want to get it right. When I look at other artists works on social media the majority of the beginner to intermediate artists tend to do bare trees. The artists who have mastered foliage seem to have mastered everything they put into their paintings. It’s like the last skill to gain.

Adding more color to the tree trunks.

Here I added texture to the trees and started working on the foliage. I decided that the direction I was headed with the leaves wouldn’t work and stopped to regroup. When working with ink I like to do actual visible leaves along the edges of the leaf mass but that lacks energy with paint it seems.

Texture to the tree trunks, added to the leaves. I aught not have done that

Next I added foreground grasses, stones and pebbles. More texture on the dock and boat. Still avoiding the leaves. I enjoy doing leaves with ink but paint… no.

Foreground, grasses and ground texture. Avoiding the foliage

Okay, I decided to dive into the foliage. It’s really hard to find reference photos for thick foliage between trees. I lifted paint and redid it several times until I was happy with it.

Let’s beat up the foliage and see if that help.

And it’s done. This took me about a week to do stealing s few minutes here and there. Over all I’m happy with it. 10×14 ” Legion Stonehenge hot press 140# and Windsor & Newton paints.

Finis

After spending a week working on it I decided I needed to do something fast, fun, and full of energy so I did the below the evening after I finished the dock. It was refreshing to work quickly without a real plan. The night before as I was lying in bed my mind showed me this image to paint so I needed to get it out.

I hope you liked them. Keep creating

Clark