Work In Progress: Glade Creek Grist Mill, Update 15
I got a bit further than I thought I would over the past week. I made
changes to the evergreen trees on the left, completed nearly all of the waterfall, added more of the frozen creek near the bottom and began painting in the hemlock tree on the right.
Ever since I completed the evergreens on the left, something bothered me about them. The heavy burden of snow just didn’t seem right. Even though it appeared real, it didn’t seem so to me. Maybe it was the amount of snow. I checked other reference photos, but couldn’t isolate and define my problem with it. Maybe it was just too much snow, although heavy, deep snows appear everywhere else in the painting. The amount of white on that side also was a departure from the much darker forms I had in the value and color sketches. I eventually decided that the snow on the branches had to be reduced and broken up into smaller pieces. That would also increase the dark values I originally planned for that side.
Using the same colors used previously for the foliage, I went back in and started breaking up the large masses of snow into much smaller ones out near the ends of the branches. Much of the left side in the shadows was left untouched, but the front and right sides were reduced considerably. So, much of the snow that lay on interior branches was eliminated – as if the wind had kept the snow from piling up on the branches. In places I added white gouache to indicate snow near the tips of the branches. To help give a three dimensional look to the trees, I also added lighter greens, indicating sunlit tips. By the time I finished re-working the trees, I felt better about their appearance. There was a more real look to them.
I had already painted in much of the snow and rocks in lower left, but continued refining it by intensifying the colors and adding more detail. A little more grass was added and some darker colors were added to increase the three dimensionality and form.
Next, the area to the right of the large rock at the bottom received attention. That area, mostly frozen but still having some water flowing is irregular and bumpy, as the water continues to move down stream. I added layer after layer of winsor blue and paynes grey to define the course of the water flowing through and areas where the sunlight sparkled on the surface. By adding the darker tones, even though they are broken up and still contain much white, the sunlight on the snow on the large rock becomes more obvious. It is interesting how the play of lights against darks will bring out seemingly dull areas.
The Mill itself needed to stand out a bit more. I think the shadow side was not dark enough, so I added a couple more glazes of paynes grey. The glazes had to be done quickly to avoid dissolving the detail already there.
The waterfall was extended next. Using the same techniques and colors (winsor blue and paynes grey) as the rest of the falls, I painted in the rest of it across to the tree on the right. At the same time I finished up the large rock just below the Mill. The rocks were first layed in with paynes grey, then finished with a combination of French ultramarine blue and burnt umber, with some yellow ochre for highlights.
The hemlock tree on the right was added last. Here, I used French ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, with some permanent rose, to get an almost black color, and painted in the trunk and branches. Although not all the branches are in, I wanted to get a feel for the foliage, so I painted in some of the masses to see how it worked. The hemlock needles were painted in with a ultra round brush, using ultramarine, hookers green and yellow ochre.
The painting is nearing completion. I’m hoping another week. I’ll continue to finish the trees on the right and then see what needs final touches.