Thursday, May 1, 2008


A while ago, I posted a number of consecutive images showing how I went about creating a watercolor painting. This time, I thought that I'd do the same but showing work on an oil painting instead. I'll do a longer series next time with more in-between stages as this one will unfortunately only have two. The location shown here is one that I am very familiar with and I have done many paintings on this spot. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and has been one of my favorite places to visit and to paint. I love the flat open marshes with the towering skies above. This simple composition has spawned many paintings and is one that I still use and enjoy. While a smaller study was done in the field, I painted the final version in my studio. On a large canvas, I first worked out the proportions of the sky, land and water as this was very important to get just the right balance. Fortunately my study helped a lot with this but sometimes I just jump right in and work directly on the canvas without even a small sketch to guide me. Typically my paintings of this type of landscape are usually composed with a large area of sky and a smaller strip of land at the bottom but in this painting, I wanted just the opposite! Still, I would give the sky its due as it would set the tone for the whole painting. Using a heavily thinned mix of yellow ochre and ultramarine oils, I first put in the horizon making sure that it was exactly level, then I added more ochre to the mix and painted in the reed bed. A few indications of thinner strips of land and that was basically it! When it had dried a bit, I started on the actual painting, working from the sky forward - you'll see the finished painting in my next blog.

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