|Creek Cascade - 8.5x11" - plein air|
pastel on sapphire blue cardstock
As is typical for most of the trails along mountain watersheds in this area, it basically parallels the creek, passing through sections of forest and open meadow, and periodically returning closer to the water when the topography allows for it. We pulled off the trail around the 3.3 mile mark, and I had no problem finding this subject to paint. I was drawn to both the large limestone boulder on the edge of the shore, as well as the water cascading down the sequence of rocks. A perfect fishing hole was about ten feet behind me, and Wayne caught (and released) three Brook trout he caught in it.
The more plein air work I do of moving water, the more I realize I probably won't ever be able to paint it from photos. Which is a shame, really, because there just isn't enough time to paint all the scenes I'd love to on location. I did take photos of other areas, but ended up deleting all of them, because the photos fall so short of what you actually see, and I can't see myself wanting to paint from any of the photos I took.
I imagine that the idea of painting moving water is intimidating to many artists, which is understandable. After all, it seems like a parlor trick to make dry pastel pigment look like wet water. Really, though, the same principles apply to painting whitewater and underwater rocks as everything else: you aren't painting "rocks under moving water", you are painting abstract bits of color, that, when placed together, look like rocks under moving water . Release yourself from left-brained thinking, and it's actually pretty straightforward. Not to say that it's "easy", but it's not a complex magic trick, either.
After finishing up with the painting and fishing, we decided to hike a bit further up the trail, and the views just got even better.
Some photos from the day:
|My new favorite photo of our lovely state flower: Blue and White Columbine|
|Painted Lady butterfly visiting a dandelion|
|Aspen cluster and shadows along a forested section of the trail|
|Shooting Star Columbine|
|Photo highlight of the trip: finding this lovely Calypso Orchid - a CO native!|
|Brook trout just before its release|
|Grizzly Peak - the view five miles into the hike|