This is a step by step demo of my painting of Sorensen Falls in the Sierras.
For this painting I am using my extended palette which is Viridian, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Permanent, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Lemon and Titanium White. My canvas is a16x12 SourceTek oil primed linen canvas on birch panel.
1. I begin by establishing my drawing.
2. Once I have everything in place I start blocking in the big shapes. Here, I am careful to mix the colors as accurately as possible. I constantly compare each large shape to the other shapes around it for tone and temperature.
3. My usual plan is to work back to front and large to small but the light is changing so fast I decide to paint the water since it will soon be in shadow.
Water has three attributes: Movement, Transparency and Reflectivity. When painting water it is good to let one aspect dominate with the other two qualities playing subordinate roles. The obvious choice in this case is the movement with some of the transparency in the foreground playing a secondary role.
4. I work to finish the water trying to get all the nuances between the foam, spray and cascade. After establishing the big differences between light and shadow I refine the shapes in smaller and smaller increments. I am careful to keep the sense of movement and cadence. To do this you must be careful not to freeze frame the elements like a camera would.
5. With the water finished I can focus my attention again on the rest of the painting. Again I turn my attention to the things that seem the most transient in this case the lower trees in the background and the rocks. The spray being kicked up is softening the look of the background elements and so I don’t want to over develop the distant trees or cliff.
6. I finish the rocks in the foreground by modeling their forms and adding some highlights. At this point I have stopped looking at the scene for more information and I focus on the painting. I adjust anything that detracts from the concept and focus, the power of the rushing water.
7. The finished painting, Sorensen falls, 16x12. Total Painting time 2 hours painted completely on location with no touch up in studio