painting what’s not really there (water painting #6)

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WATER PAINTING #6 • 30 inches x 40 inches (in progress)

I was able to squeeze in a couple of unexpected  hours of painting yesterday morning while our house guests took the four kids to see a movie.

Water Painting #6 is inspired by a photo I took while vacationing in Saugatuck, Michigan a few years ago. I took several rolls of film during that little getaway, so I’ve been able to create more than one painting from that part of the country.

Last summer I painted “shore path” and “beach walk” which are both inspired from the same beach.

In all the various water landscapes that make up this series, I’m taking some mediocre photos I shot and trying to turn them into scenes that help you feel like you’re at the beach. So this means painting colors that aren’t really there in either the photo or real life.

Here's where I finished up on DAY FOUR. (I had worked on the fence posts that day.)

DAY FIVE: I started off the morning re-working the sandy path. The color I had first painted WAS true to the photo, but something about it just didn't seem quite right. I decided to make it a deeper, more golden tan and I'm happy with way it warmed up the piece. I also added another layer of blues and white to the sky and clouds.

When I worked on the sky, I decided I wouldn't worry about covering the existing tall grasses. They are easy enough to put back, so I just painted over them if they were in my way.

Next I added a layer of yellow grasses first, and then a layer of dark brown grasses. I was mostly working in the lower right hand corner and the left side.

The biggest challenge in all of these water paintings is to make the painting better than the photo. So that means adding colors that aren't there in real life to create the magical effect I'm going for. The grasses all need to dry before I can go any farther.

If all I did was paint what I saw in the photo, it would be a rather drab and lifeless painting. I want this painting to take you to the beach, so that you feel the breeze in your hair and the sun on your face. It's still not there yet, but I think I'm on the right track!

4 thoughts on “painting what’s not really there (water painting #6)

  1. I am always super-amazed at how you “paint what’s not really there”. Most of the photos that inspire you would never strike me as something someone should paint. You see potential that the rest of us miss, and you help us see more deeply.

  2. This is great! I love that you decided to work with different colors, it really makes the piece more vibrant and alive. I really need to get into that train of thought, diverting from what I actually see.

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