I cropped a piece of the original photo and chose a format that I thought would work for my painting. I want to emphasize the sky but at this point I am not sure if I will have a cloudless sky or not.
I put my first acrylic paint layer on using cobalt blue, Payne's grey, white and pthalo green for the water. For the sky I used cobalt blue, crimson, naples yellow and white blending in such a way as to get a transition from blue at the top to that orange color at the bottom.
I painted in the distant land and islands and then glazed the entire panel with a mixture of yellow ochre and cad yellow light. It looks a little too green on the water at this point but that's OK . I will follow it with a crimson glaze.
Update : I have moved on to other projects and I will finish this at another date.
The composition starts with an idea . I use reference photos as memory joggers.
The cropped section in the top photo created the greatest potential for a painting. The photo section below taken from that original photo has a composition that I believe may work as a painting .
I sealed a 14" x 18" hardboard panel with acrylic matte medium and when it was dry I added a layer of white gesso , let dry . Then a second layer of gesso with paint pigment in it was applied. I got a color that I thought would be a good base using raw umber, ultramarine blue, , yellow, and a dab of crimson . I applied brush strokes in a way to form grass texture in the foreground. In the background area I used diagonal strokes from the top right corner down to the middle of the panel. I intend to have light rays beaming down from that direction later and the diagonal stroke will help with that. I wanted a color that if it bleeds through a bit it would be an enhancement to the top colors not a hindrance.
Then I added my background color in acrylic . I used raw umber, burnt umber ,ultramarine blue, naples yellow and yellow ochre combined to get the colors in the background. This gives a much better tonal effect then if I had tried to use some black pigment mixed with yellow for example. The grasses were done with a pizza cutting wheel . The paint has to be diluted enough to flow easily without dripping off the wheel.
I rubbed the background color a little before it was completely dry to expose the under painting gesso color. I didn't want to lose that yet. I should note here that the green grasses under the lines I created with the pizza wheel was scrubbed in with a course wide brush before the top lighter yellow grasses was applied.
I added the orange dot at the location where the head would be. This gives me an idea as I proceed , where the figure will be in relation to the background.
I wanted the dark area to have a kind of shadowed evergreen tree color. So I made a glaze with ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, and raw sienna in it. There is still a little of the underpainting color bleeding through and that's what I want.
I made a glaze mixture with ultramarine blue , a dab of white and a micro amount of pthalo green . ( pthalo green is a very powerful pigmented color , too much and it overpowers the other colors) I uses a mid size round brush and painted this glaze on in diagonal lines moving down from the top right. I was trying to get sunlight rays peeking through the trees and crossing the dark background. It seemed to work but it needs another application yet. I put in the fluffy grass top highlights with a small round brush using naples yellow.
I worked on those grasses some more. I wanted to deepen the foreground and put some variation in the grass colors. First I used combinations of raw and burnt umber's and a little burnt sienna in the bottom area and rubbed it into the texture . Then I wiped off some of the excess dark's . On top of this I painted grass blades using a green made from hookers green and cad yellow light . I used the same glaze as before on the dark area using those diagonal strokes from the right top downward.
I added a burnt sienna glaze over the entire panel . I was very surprised at how it unified the whole thing and brought a warmth that I was very pleased with. Next, I etched markings in the top left corner with a sharp tool to simulate grass or twigs . The etching exposed the base gesso grey-green color under the acrylic paint layer. It may be hard to see this on this small format. I will be putting other glazes over this yet so it will cover the gesso color a bit.
I added a little more grass stubble into the background and rubbed in a little yellow-brownish color into the shadow area . I then added the figure and refined the grass more . I still need to work on the figure a bit more yet.
I scratched the shaded area up a bit, to expose the under painting to make it look like twigs or grasses .
Then I made a glaze with pthalo blue and cad red and covered the entire panel
I highlighted the off white grass tops in the foreground only to give a greater depth of field . This made the figure seem to move farther away in picture space. The color I used for the grass tops in the foreground was naples yellow , raw umber and raw sienna.
I put another glaze over the entire panel using raw sienna.
I can still see the underpainting color bleeding through in the shadow area coming through all those glaze colors. That worked well and it was a success . This is where it is now.
A well house built by my great-grandfather sits below a cliff in a wild grassy field . It was built about 60 years ago when his family lived in their isolated cove in north east Newfoundland. This remnant of decomposing wood is all that remains standing of their simple buildings . I wanted to do a painting of it before it is forgotten. It is slowly falling to the ground and the boards of the roof are collapsing. It has been said that we are forgotten after the third generation who follow us. I believe this is true because my children will not know who Sydney Rice was. This painting will be for my family, a symbolic reminder of their roots . It also symbolizes the end of an era. Our founding fathers and mothers were a hard working people who lived off the land and sea. They were exposed to the elements daily and it was in many ways a harsh and simple life.