Fall Reflections and demo
5 x 7", Oils on canvas covered hardboard
Fall Reflections was painted from a photo I took at Muscoot Farm in Somers, NY. I'm mainly a plein air painter and haven't worked much from pictures, but I take photos wherever I go to paint. Over the years, I've accumulated thousands of photos that I have yet to paint from! It's been fun to dig some of them out at last, and paint the scenes I envisioned on canvas years ago, but never got around to painting. I've always wanted to do a painting that featured reflections like this, with fall leaves floating on the top of the water. This was a lot of fun to paint, and I'm eager to have a go at a similar subject en plein air soon, perhaps at the brook behind my house.
When I work from photos, I prefer to paint directly off the computer screen, rather than printing them out. The color is much better, and I can crop the image, move it around, enlarge and reduce at will. I can even rotate both the image on the screen and the painting, and work on them both upside down! Here is my initial setup. You can see that I secured the small canvas board to a larger board to make it easier to work with. That way, I can hold the board in my hand, paint right to the edges, and rotate it easily. The canvas is toned a greyed violet, since I saw that as the optimum background for this particular painting. I added a touch of liquin and used an alkyd white to get it to tack up a little faster, knowing I'd want to do a lot of layering alla prima for this painting.
I selected just four colors for this piece (though additional colors are on the palette). I used cadmium yellow lemon, cadmium red medium, ultramarine blue deep, and transparent red oxide, plus of course titanium white. I blocked in the reflections and placement of the grasses, and worked that stage until it was completely finished.
Here's another image of the still-incomplete painting. After the colors were down, I swept a brush side to side to show movement in the water. Most of the work with the reflections and color was then complete:
Once the painting was at the stage above, I let it set up for a half hour so the paint wouldn't be so slippery, then went back and added in the leaves floating in the water, and the definition of the grasses at the top, tweaked it here and there, and signed it. Done!