|Late Fall Shoreline|
12x12" - pastel on dark brown cardstock
Yesterday was probably the last "warm" day we are going to have around here for a bit, possibly months, and while the landscape is probably at its least attractive [in my opinion, anyway] in the period after the fall color has gone and before the snow works its magic on the land, I wasn't finding much inspiration to paint on location.
But, the urge to get outside and take advantage of the gift of a beautiful, mild day made me think of what would be interesting to paint. Answer, of course: the river. New location for this piece, and one I'll most certainly revisit. One of the standout features were the reddish bare branches of the shoreline willows. I actually think they look more interesting and attractive without leaves - quite possibly the only tree/shrub that I could say that about. Makes for a sweet compliment with the river, too.
I had to work quickly, though: a hogback ridge is just across the river, and at this time of the year, the sun drops behind it early. No sun = immediate drop in temperature = painting is over for me. So, I didn't quite finish it on location, and despite having made some compositional adjustments to the foreground rocks on location, when I got home, I didn't care for them. The closest rock had the misfortune of looking like...a hamburger. Partially due to its shape and partially due to me being so focused on capturing its color variations, which were striped horizontally. I hadn't given it much thought while I was painting that it might not translate so well in the painting. And, there was some major funk happening with some of the colors I used in those rocks.
So, I messed around with it a bit this afternoon, fully expecting I might ruin it, which happens. Then, suddenly, things seemed to come together and I decided that I liked it, so I took this photo:
However, upon looking at the photo on my computer, I saw two things, albeit minor, that immediately bugged me, and I knew I had to fix them. Do you see them? Actually, others will possibly notice different things (hey, if I ever create the perfect painting, my career as an artist will be over), but for whatever reason, these jumped out as very bothersome. Even if you don't notice specifics, I hope you'll at least agree that the first image is better.
I mention this because I think it's a good example of how looking at a photo of the painting can be a good editing/critiquing tool. As much as I try to catch these things before I declare the painting to be finished, sometimes I just miss them. But, they often show up in the photo. I still haven't figured out exactly how this phenomenon works, but I am grateful for it!