Monday, October 12, 2009

Painting At Deep Creek

Early on Wednesday October 7th my son and I drove 3 hours to Deep Creek at the south end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina near Bryson City. During the drive I thought we might be fogged in, but it turned out to be one of those rare days. As we approached the Park, the clouds began to break as the sun was rising. As we stepped outside, the air was crisp, the smells unbelieveablly refreshing, and the colors were vivid. These photos do not begin show you what we experienced. So I will try to add words and paintings to describe it.

Deep Creek at 8:30am as misty fog lifts
this photo only shows 1/4 of the color I experienced

Painting at the creeks bank

This study was mostly about the water as it struck me the most, so I down played the details of the forest and tried to create movement and in the creek to carry you through the painting. So the water is what showcases the color of the trees. If you take away the water in this picture the trees loose their drama!

Next, after lunch I came upon Juney Whank Falls. What a challenge it is to paint waterfalls; they move us emotionally but to paint a whole-nother story!

As you can see it starts at a 45 degree angle looking up and then falls to my feet fanning out into wild waves of misty grey colors.

Here you may be able to see some of the subtleties I mentioned, hints of greens from the reflected light from the forest and all variation of greys. I introduced a few spikes of the sky to add to the perspective. In this little 9 x 12 painting I used everything in my arsenal, pulling out quinacridone violet, cobalt blue, and ivory black which I almost never use - big brushes, little brushes, knives, paper towels, fingers, and signed with a toothpick.

Here is my 19 year old son Caleb fly fishing Deep Creek below the bridge. I try to paint where he wants to fish so we can hang out together. This time it was a good pick on his part. Here the sun is generally behind me in late afternoon and you can see just some of the color I mentioned, reflecting off the water and the photo is showing about 1/2 of what I was seeing!

This is Deep Creek just upstream of the bridge looking towards the light from the sun. Here again the photo lies, showing maybe 10 percent of the color. I could clearly see the cool violetly tones of the shaded stone bridge and the photo does not record it --This is why we need to paint plein air; so that we can begin to understand and learn how to represent colors of light with our paints. The more hours we stand in the face of nature with our palette and paints the more we will begin to understand and see color as an artist and to begin to effectively represent it with paint.

Deep Creek in full color

My son Caleb after a hard day of fishing. No fish for dinner as he is a catch and release guy, so we had Mama's Chilli - Mmm Good -and a few smores of course. The next day we painted a fished the Natahala River about 20 minutes away. More on that trip later.
If you would like to join me to paint plein air go to for our latest free plein air event!

No comments:

Post a Comment