Wednesday, October 12, 2011

timber coulee fishing: next project

i am pretty sure that i am going to be going back to some landscapes (or figure in landscape) for a while as the weather is just incredible around here right now and the color is amazing with the leaves being just past their peak. additionally the marshes around the mississippi and their surrounding bluffs are majestic with reflections and soaring heights, respectively. i was out on the marsh late morning today and wished that i had brought some painting materials as i certainly would have started my plein aire career right on the spot!

this first painting is based on a photo that it took out in timber coulee trout fishing a couple of years ago and have been wanting to try my hand at painting ever since. it appears today is the day. here is the photo. it is very blurry as it was actual film that i tried to digitize by taking a digital photo of the projected image off a projection screen. needless to say that is less than ideal. but you get the idea of the scene, none the less.

i started by finding a photo of a fly fisherman and drawing in the figure at the size i estimated to be about right at one of the "sweet points" of the rectangle. the paper was fabriano artistico rough, 140#, 14"X22". then i lightly drew in the rest of the major structures and moved the barn and house around for balance. in these types of figure in landscape paintings i always start with the figure as i think if i am going to screw something up it probably will be there. the second thing i paint is the sky....same reason. if i get through these two exercises to my satisfaction i go on with the darks. after the first two stages and taking the reflections in the stream/pond a bit earlier than probably advisable, i nearly tossed this in the recycle bin. after resting on it over night i added the dark mid-ground trees and buildings and felt it probably could be salvaged.

so, i did the sky with cobalt blue and raw sienna with a 1" flat. the figure with a # 8 round with pretty much the same colors only more densely applied. tried to get a few tie-ins right away with the surroundings by blending the shadow side of his hat with the background and his feet with the reflection/shadow on the water. the band of mid-ground darks was painted with a 3/4" flat starting at the left side and working right. mixing up the colors, shapes, etc to keep it interesting. at time with these flat brushes i will put a dab of one color on one corner and a dab of another color on the other corner and after working the paint into the brush a bit on the palette go ahead and apply it to the paper while twisting the brush  and pushing a round to get a random kind of mixing on the paper. after this had dried i darkened the tops of the hillside with the darker version of the cobalt and burnt sienna i used before and using the same trick i described in the previous sentence. all scraping was done just as the sheen came off the paper and with a small palette knife. here is where things were when i stopped for the afternoon.

the next life drawing/painting session is tonight and i will post the results tomorrow.


  1. When I was about Sophie's age my family would go for Sunday drives every weekend. We would drive out to scope out the creeks near Hokah,MN or in the valleys back near Norskedalen. I was never a fisherman but love to be out in the beautiful valleys. I even became a vegetarian after a close encounter with a cow when we were on one of our barbed wire jumping trout fishing excursions. I love this photo and the painting looks great so far. I can't wait to see it when it is done, it is like a painted memory.

  2. good to see you are out and about again. i should have known you would be familiar with this since your dad makes fly rods and all. i will probably get a good deal more done today as it is rainy and cold out....good studio weather. see you guys soon.