Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight, Update 12

Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight Update 12

            The water is now pretty much complete. I continued to add layer upon layer to the roughed in reflection pattern in the lower right. Doing so intensified the colors. For the most part I kept the margins of the light and dark colors quite sharp. Within the lighter color patterns I did mix some colors, chromium green opaque (FC) and chartreuse (P), to mimic the gradations in value seen in the tree foliage.

The water near the shoreline takes its blue color from the sky overhead because the surface seems to be disturbed by wind. The blue color was achieved by combining sky blue (FC), cloud blue (P) and a bit of cobalt blue (FC). Further to the right, beyond the wing of the egret, where there is an area of dark shadow close to the water’s edge, I added indigo blue (P) and chrome oxide green (FC) to the mix.

The blue sky reflections in the middle were further strengthened with sky blue.

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I’ll be tackling the strip of grasses across the midground next.

Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight, Update 11

Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight Update 11


I was hoping to have the water completed this week but fell short. Other commitments took time from this project. A new commission is taking some of my time, and home and garden maintenance is still an important part of my day. However, I have still made some progress.

IMG_1763 Withlacoochee Flight Update 11 IMG_1764 Withlacoochee Flight Update 11 IMG_1765 Withlacoochee Flight Update 11There’s little more to add to the discussion of the water that I haven’t mentioned last week. I’ve continued to refine, sharpen and intensify the colors. You may notice I’ve broken up the tree reflections of the palms on the left more. I did that because I felt the water on the left wasn’t in sync with the water on the right. It seemed a little more calm than the water on the right. So, I added a bit more movement and broke up the reflections more. I also removed some of the white cloud reflections in the center.

I hope to have the water completed by the next update.

Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight, Update 10

Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight Update 10

            I know said I was going to work the grasses after doing the palm tree reflections but I couldn’t resist continuing the reflections across the painting. Once I completed the reflections below the palms I wanted to see how the rest of the water would be integrated in. So, although I added an undercoat of chartreuse (P) to the grasses stretching across, I decided to continue work on the reflections.

The palms were taken from another reference photo, one that did not have any water, so the reflections had to be completely fabricated. I basically produced a mirror image – of sorts – roughly, only roughly. The water is moving, so there are lots of small waves. The wind is also creating some ripples here and there. The waves would break up the images considerably. Part of the wave would be reflecting the trees and part the sky, depending on the angle of the wave. I referred to the reflections on the right side as a guide to what the reflections under the palms might look like. Only the reflections of the trunks would bear a near resemblance to the real trees because they were light colored against a dark background.

When I finished the reflections under the palms they appeared a little too detailed, especially judging from reflections on the right side. So, I went back over it and scratched out more breaks in the images and further broke up the reflections until I felt they looked better. As can be seen from the photos, the reflections were just roughly sketched in at first to get the shapes and colors in, then I went back in to further refine them.

IMG_1748 Withlacoochee flight Update 10 IMG_1747 Withlcoochee Flight Update 9

After completing the palm reflections I worked toward the right. Here, I had photos to follow. However, I decided that I didn’t need to copy the reflections exactly as they appeared in the photo. I merely had to study the wave and reflection patterns and then paint my own in. I copied some of the main wave and reflection patterns shown in the photos and then added more to maintain the same feel. Once again, I roughed in the wave and reflection patterns lightly. Now I’m starting back over, adding heavier layers, intensifying the colors and refining the shapes.

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The colored pencils used to do the reflections were the same ones that were used to do the trees and sky.

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            After the reflections are completed, I’ll start work on the grasses.

Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight, Update 9

Work In Progress: Withlacoochee Flight, Update 9

            After getting all the palm trees in I thought next of doing the grasses that stretch across the scene, but I was anxious to put some water in, especially in the lower left. The palm trees were taken from another photo, pasted in, and weren’t on the bank of a river or lake, so there were no reflections. I had to create them. All I did there was to very roughly mirror the trees above, taking into account moving water. I estimated how much the reflections needed to be broken up by the reflections on the right side of the original photo. I also used other photos of similar reflections as reference. The reflections were very generally indicated to get the shapes and size, then detail was gradually worked in.

IMG_1745 Withlacoochee Flight Update 9

The colors used were the very same ones used to do the trees and sky. For the tree trunks: ginger root (P), 50% French grey (P), and a bit of dark sepia (FC); for the foliage: chrome oxide green (FC), chromium green opaque (FC), chartreuse, limepeel (P); for the grasses: charteuse (P), limepeel (P), raw umber (FC), burnt umber (FC); and for the sky reflections: cloud blue (P) and sky blue (FC).

Since the water is not still there was no need to match the reflections to the trees exactly, just give the illusion of being the same. I did try to match up the tree trunks a little more accurately because they stood out against the dark background behind them. The foliage masses of the trees were just roughed in. I made sure of breaking up the tree trunks because the wind was creating small waves that alternately reflected the tree trunks and background. Near the bottom, where the tops of the trees ended, the sky started to be reflected by the water surface but, because of the rising and falling water surface, the reflection of trees and sky were mixed. The science behind reflections is interesting and might be a good subject for a future post. There is a lot of information out there and it’s important for the artist to have an understanding of it to portray it with some accuracy – especially in this case, where there is no photo to copy and it has to be made up.

IMG_1746 Withlacoochee Flight Update 9 IMG_1747 Withlcoochee Flight Update 9

This area is nearly complete. I’ll work my way across to get the rest of the reflections of the palm trees in, then go back to the line of grasses. I may work alternately on the grass and the water reflections below. The birds will come last.