Friday, March 8, 2013

Painting a Water Study--View of Goodby's Creek

     I explored Goodby's Creek, which is a few miles from our north Florida home, and took photos for landscape painting subjects a couple years ago. Recently, I pulled out one of the less dramatic views to paint because the ripples at the edge of the water intrigued me. This 8" x 10" study attempts to capture the feeling of that spot, of overall quietness with gentle, leftover movement in the water from some earlier disturbance.

     Although it is "just a study", not a fully realized painting, this creek view was challenging and required several revisions. I am pleased with the results, with the overall "feel" of the piece. I plan a few minor changes, but wanted to show you this nearly finished stage before coming into a time that will be too busy for any posting.

     For those of you interested in the technical details, the support is a canvas board. The acrylic paint palette included cerulean, cobalt blue, paynes grey, alizarin crimson, cad yellow light, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, buff, and titanium white. Wanting a cleaner look than the actual, quite wild creek bank vegetation, I left out a fair amount and gave the viewer some glimpses of the sky. The painting also increases the light/dark contrasts and highlights the stand of pampas grass and a few other elements. See the original reference photo below for comparison.

Question of the day: Are you inclined to reflect on the features in a scene which interest you and draw you in--or are you more inclined to simply enjoy natural beauty on a feeling level? Or--like me--sometimes one, sometimes the other?


  1. I tend to take the piece in as a whole and not nitpick it at all, Mary. Sometimes I will comment on a particularly beautiful aspect, but in general, I do take it as a whole. I think you did a beautiful job on this! Now let me ask you always paint in acrylics? I don't know why but I always assumed you painted in oils! LOL Pulling head out of sand for a moment.

  2. Sherry, thank you for your reflections and compliment--I always feel a bit taller after hearing from you :>) . Yes, I always paint in acrylics; it's all I know how to do at this point. I have no art school training at all and enjoyed painting with acrylics from the beginning when I took an inspirational course at the John C. Campbell Folk School several years ago. Acrylic's best quality for someone like me is that whenever I don't like something, I can paint over that area and try again! They dry very quickly, which is both a benefit and sometimes (as for on-canvas blending) a challenge, and are non-toxic and have no fumes. In our smallish house, it would be much more difficult to cope with the smell and drying time of oil paints.