Thursday, September 27, 2012

Immersed in Water, Part 2

Late Afternoon Reflections, pastel, 12x9
Late Afternoon Reflections is my demo from this morning's class in which we continued with our water series. Normally I take my demos to about 80 percent completion during the roughly hour and 15 minute demo time during class, and add just finishing touches after the class. However this was one of those demos that I felt the need to fuss with much longer than I like after class. I wiped down the water area more times than I care to admit. It's easy to get caught up in all the "ins and outs" of the ripples in the water when copying too much from the photo...a similar issue I ran into with last week's post on water.

reference photo

I went back and forth with how detailed to make the water ripples, as well as how hard and soft to make the edges. My distant trees seemed to be working with fairly soft edges, so I decided to keep the edges in the water mostly soft, except for a few areas that needed emphasis.

Regarding color (also part of my issue last week), I had to search for a way to handle the warm, peach highlights in the dark reflections in the water. I finally decided to interpret those warm highlights as more of a soft-edge glow rather than with linear strokes. This helped to give that upper right section of the painting an overall glow with it being placed near the warm, sunlit areas of the land and tree mass.

Still not being completely satisfied with this "problem painting," I thought the composition could be better...sooooooo...

Late Afternoon Reflections, pastel, 8x8


  1. This is great Barbara, I especially like how you boosted the color and contrast in the trees. I really appreciate it when you share the reference photo. It's very helpful to see how you interpret your reference material.

  2. Love the final one. Thanks for sharing. The first was good but the final is great and settling is not an option.

  3. Thanks for the comments! I too have always found it helpful to learn from others by seeing how they interpret their reference material, which is why I sometimes include it here on my blog when I think it may be useful when explaining my process, challenges, etc. And keeping a blog is a great way for me to force myself to keep pushing for the best solution to a painting, rather than just tossing it aside when I'm not satisfied.

  4. Thanks from me too, Barbara. I struggle with water and seeing how you interpreted your photo really helps. I can see why you like the crop - it shows off the water very well!

  5. Thanks, Donna! Yes, I thought the closer crop highlighted the drama of the water reflections a bit more.

  6. I've just found your blog and i'm very excited...i've signed up and look forward to learning more. i am particularly excited by your vision of colour where there is something different. i'm a full time potter and have been dabbling in painting etc for some years....sometimes i struggle with what colours to use, cos sometimes the actual scene colorwise isn't so thanks for pushing this envelope....i'll be heading back thro your blog to get more information!

    by the way, i'm way up on Cape Breton Island, Nova this kind of information and help is totally appreciated! many thanks for taking the time to share your vision!

    Cheers, Linda

  7. Sorry, i forgot to say, your work is absolutely stunning....the richness of color and the vibrant energy in your paintings is wonderful.....i've just started using pastels and love the medium!

    cheers again, Linda

    1. Thanks, Linda. It's so appreciated to hear nice feedback like yours on my blog posts. I'm glad they've been helpful to you. It took me quite awhile to learn how to use color more interpretively rather than just copying the local color, so absolutely keep working at it! I've never been to Nova Scotia, but I imagine you have beautiful scenery there to paint!