Tag Archives: cypress tree

unfinished swamp painting update

There’s a slight glare on the painting because my Maroger medium makes it a little shiny. I tilted it forward and that helps but the glare is still showing on the left.

I’m excited about the progress I made in the past few days and it still needs a lot more work on the bottom of the canvas. There’s a bush on the left that I tried to sketch in a couple times already but then painted over because it wasn’t working. It has yellow leaves on thin black branches and some of the leaves cover the main cypress branch. I hope I can paint that in tomorrow. It could add some brightness to the left.

One thing about painting in plein air that most people don’t know is that you have to pick where you want your sunlight to show up and where you want shadows. So many artists think they have to paint fast so they can capture the changing light but it doesn’t have to be a rush rush thing. If I hang around there for 2 hours because that’s how long my concentration lasts, then it’s time for lunch or something, the light changes a lot over that time. Sometimes the light is perfect on the branch. Then it’s perfect on the Spanish moss or another part of the painting. When you keep going back to the same location day after day you get to know when the light is best for a certain part of the scene. Then you can plan how to use the light to create your focal points where you want them. The artist has to decide. If you’re copying a photo you don’t get those choices. The art viewer will never know part of it was painted at 9 and part was painted at 11.

I tried twice to start painting the water with reflections at home and both times it was so not good. I just can’t mix the right colors if I’m not there. This close up shows my 3rd try from today and I think this will work because I did it from life not from memory.

I was very excited to get that shiny wet mud painted in. I did that mess with my palette knife, scrumbling off white and a couple shades and tints of burnt umber in with it.

I hope the sun comes out again tomorrow so I can continue the beams of light over the water. My water should be dry enough tomorrow that I can put a layer of Maroger medium on top of it without smearing the reflections I painted today. The plan is to do a real thin glaze of white on top of the water going out on the same angle as the shadows from the trees. If I can make the glaze thin enough so that some of the reflections show through maybe I can make the effect of sunlight on water. If it works it will be an accomplishment for me.

After I’m all finished with the water I’ll have to continue the cypress branch sticks all the way down to the bottom of the canvas with bright orange foliage over the water. Then I have to do the Spanish moss last. So, maybe next week I can finish this. It depends on the weather. They’re calling for rain on Mon.

Cypress Tree with Spanish Moss / charcoal

I’ve had my eye on this old tree off and on for a few years. It looks best in the late fall when the trees in the background get some color. It’s all too green right now. I want to paint it large so I don’t crowd the tree as much. The tree is in a good place to paint with a boardwalk through the swamp and a bench and enough space for an easel and people can still walk through. I might paint it in Nov. but I could start sooner. In Nov. the bugs won’t get me. I sprayed a lot of bug spray today and they were still buzzing around my head so I sprayed my HAIR! I hope I didn’t get bit but you don’t always feel it until later.

I have so many plans for paintings and still want to sketch more first. The one I was planning to do with Inktense pencils, at the overlook facing the bay with the dunes and boardwalk, that had wind surfers, I’m waiting for the wind to pick up again so those guys will be there with their brightly colored kites.

There’s another place I might sketch tomorrow if I get up early enough but that spot looks better in the afternoon. I can do my sketch in the morning and save that until it gets colder too. We had more hot and humid weather but tomorrow is going to be cloudy with less heat. Then the chance of rain goes up for a few days, then a little cooler. It’s been a long hot and humid summer. We had some haze from the Western wildfires but it’s so high in the atmosphere it doesn’t change our air quality. It makes pretty red sunsets though.

We have the Neptune festival coming up which I’m looking forward to this month, then the vacationers will thin out until Spring.