Monday, July 15, 2013

FAST WATER - Oil on Paper

Fast Water - 9x12 Oil 
 Last week I traveled to Estes Park, Colorado to attend the Women Artists Of The West exhibit in the Cultural Arts Gallery - (Very proud to have 3 paintings accepted into the show).  The itinerary for exhibiting artists was a full one, but I was able to "escape" up into Rocky Mountain National Park for about 4 hours.  On my last trip to RMNP about 5 years ago, I remembered a pull-off on Bear Lake Road where I could have easy access to the Big Thompson River.  This is a painting I've been thinking about for 5 years. The river was running a lot faster than I remember it before - a lot of snow melt still making it's way downstream. Above is the finished plein air painting after several changes.  Below are a couple of photos of the work "in process".

On the banks of the Thompson River  (Photo taken before changes)
 It didn't take me long to decide that the colors in the background were too "high key".  I scraped the greenish yellow off and applied muted greens - the photograph doesn't show much color in the water; a lot of brown and green rocks just below the surface- so I added more under-tones.
Detail of Boulders before changes
 I carry a can of Krylon Quick Dry for oil paintings, an acrylic spray finish - a quick coat allows me to paint a new layer or apply a glaze within minutes.  I didn't like the shape or design of the big boulders - they seemed to distract from the water.  After breaking up the big rocks into different shapes and "pushing" them more into the background, it was time to add the "fast water" and try to capture the power of this magnificent river.
Detail of Boulders after changes

Detail of Water
In order to keep the white "foam" from mixing with color already there, I applied another coat of Quick Dry.  This stuff really works great - in about 5 minutes, I was able to paint in the white water and apply soft glazes in the foreground to give the illusion of the water running by in a blur.  Painting moving water is a challenge to say the least.

  I wanted to show and discuss the changes I made after the first layers of color.  I made decisions that would result in a good composition and "tell the story"...FAST WATER!