Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Peirce Reservoir painting

I have been putting off going back to Peirce Reservoir to finish up this painting. I guess I was afraid that I would mess up the initial attempt but it did not turn out too badly though it is still unfinished at this point. I did not get to paint from the same bench as before as it was occupied by an elderly couple who were talking about the values of their respective grown-up children. It was a hazy morning because our air quality is currently affected by forest fires in the surrounding region. I sat at another bench further in from the reservoir and decided to concentrate on painting the water as well as giving more 'body' to the trees in the background. It was impossible to work on the trees as I was not looking at the trees from the previous perspective, so I left them alone. The greatest test of my endurance was getting the water surface right. I did a wash, waited for it to dry and then painted another layer that was a mixture of ultramarine blue and titanium white. Everything looked flat. Then I painted the reflection on the fringe of the reservoir with a mixture of cadmium yellow, lemon yellow and ultramarine blue to get a colour close to emerald green. Because of the changing light as the sun ducked in and out of the passing clouds, the water surface kept changing colour and the wave patterns altered according to how strong the breeze was. I had a hard time trying to catch up with the changes and soon the entire water surface was painted with the emerald green I had designated for the reflections. After an hour or so, I was getting nowhere and the water looked terrible. Then I thought I should paint the wave forms using a mixture of titanium white and ultramarine blue. The effect was promising. Then an idea hit me - I should paint the darker shades of green where they appear as reflections or streaks across the water. And then I painted more whitish waveforms to close up the green parts that were showing through. I felt I was making some progress at last but it was time to leave for lunch and so, it looks like I will have to go back one more time. I take this painting as an exercise in discovery. Nothing like picking up the brush and experimenting. I have been spending too much time and taking too long to dive into painting choosing instead to procrastinate through endless buying and browsing of art books that I took as my security blanket. They were wonderful books with beautiful pictures of great works of art of the impressionists especially but I really have to be less lazy and more active in my learning journey.

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