Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coastal North Florida Water View Painting, "Summer Reflections"

"Summer Reflections"
     "Summer Reflections" stands on our fireplace mantel for consideration over the next week or so. Will there be any more minor adjustments to the scene? That remains to be seen.

Today's photos show a newly painted piece of a creek scene near our neighborhood, a couple of detail close-ups, and one of the original reference photos. From the reference photo, you can see that I brightened the colors considerably (while trying not to go overboard with that) and cleared out a lot of North Florida's exuberant, messy-looking growth. As always, you can click on a photo to enlarge it.
A detail from the painting
A detail from the painting

     The painting is on a 2" deep 18" x 24" gallery wrap canvas with the scene continued onto all the sides so that it can be hung with or without a frame. The palette, in acrylic paints, includes ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, dioxazine purple, sap green, naphthol crimson, yellow ochre, Naples yellow, burnt sienna, Payne's grey, and titanium white. 

     For a change, I toned the canvas with a pale burnt sienna tone. Then, after painting the sky in roughly as you see it, I established a fairly dark under painting for the rest. In acrylic paintings, we often work from darks to lights because even light colors (especially when mixed with an opaque white) cover well. Next, the sky was modified and a few clouds added. The far trees were next in muted bluish tones, requiring several milky glazes to get the right hazy appearance of distance. I cut loose on the creek, laying in quick, slightly curved horizontal strokes in a variety of colors and blends. I meant that to be an under painting for the water, but much of it stayed because of the vibrant feel of movement the strokes provided. 
One of several reference photos for this piece

     Most areas of the painting required gradual buildup in layers as lighter and lighter tones were added to the darker under painting. I can't tell you how often during the process my husband asked if the painting would stay so dark, but finally, the gradual, subtle differentiation of tones and colors and layered highlighting led to the version you see today. I exaggerated the differing shades of the foliage; one of the most difficult tasks for a Florida landscape artist can be creating an interesting interpretation of tangled green, green, and more green. This one may be about finished; we'll see what several more days of living with it brings. 

Question of the day: Are you also drawn to scenes with natural water features?


  1. I am always drawn to water scenes and the water here looks so magical I want to jump into it! Love that you cleaned away some of the scrub brush; a gorgeous painting, Mary!

  2. Oh, Sherry, we could have fun jumping into this water together! Thank you for your comments, which have made my day VERY bright.

  3. I enjoyed reading your wonderful post about your painting process.
    Painting water and rocks scare me. I tell myself someday I'll devote time to learning how to paint them. I have a book that illustrates how to paint water scenes I can consult when I need to.
    Glad I found your blog

  4. From my visits and bicycle riding in Florida, I have a sense of place. This painting says, "FLORIDA!" I am especially intrigued by the way you created the water. I am fascinated by the blues you used. I believe it's stay on the mantel will confirm success.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Mary.

  5. Lovely to hear from you, Maywyn; I very much appreciate your visit! I hope you can have some fun one of these days soon trying different techniques for painting water. It can take awhile with various layers and modifications, but it's great fun.

    Oh Mary, I'm so pleased that this painting conveys the right sense of place to you. Thank you for your comments and your encouragement.

  6. Dear Mary - your painting is absolutely gorgeous. I so love landscapes but have never managed to do do them so well. What a lovely spot you have captured. It certainly looks finished to me. Thank you also for your visit to my blog and your sweet comments. Read your previous post and am going to check your links...looked like you learned so much in your class. Isn't it fun to get together with others and share ideas and tips? Have a lovely week-end.

  7. I hope you will paint and take some photos of your vacation. I love seeing the very nice places. Where you and your husband go on vacation. I hope you and your husband are having a great vacation and enjoy yalls vacation and relax and get some rest on yalls vacation. And i hope yall have a very safe trip back home. When yall come home from yalls vacation.

  8. I am always drawn to water whether in pictures, paintings or real life. Water is a creator of life. Great pictures and paintings. Have a great time.

  9. I apologize, one and all, that I have not responded to comments recently; we are home again and back in business.

    Debbie, thank you so very much for your kind comments. I absolutely agree with you that it is fun and enriching to get together with other creative people to share ideas and tips.

    I have new post with a few photos of our vacation, Anon, and will have lots more to tell readers about it in a few days.

    I am 100% in agreement with you, Bill, about the importance and beauty of the presence of water in our environment, in our lives, and in art. Water is indeed the creator of life. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting--always great to hear from you.