Oil on Stretched Canvas
Canvas 24 inches by 36 inches
In August of 2012, I decided one morning to go out in search of finding inspirational scenes for painting. I loaded up the SUV with three canvases, easel, and all my paints and brushes. Also, just in case, I loaded up my fishing gear.
After several hours of scouring Beaver Valley and the surrounding area, I couldn’t find that personally stirring scene although I was surrounded by nature’s captivating beauty everywhere. So, I decided to go fishing instead. I proceeded down Lower Valley Road to one of my favourite fishing spots on the Boyne River, just north of Hoggs Falls. I parked, grabbed my fishing gear, and headed to the river, which is really a stream. Something very strange happened. I was still in “art mode” rather than “fishing mode”. Over the years, I’ve been to that location hundred’s of times and never really stopped to look at the enchanting beauty of it. I’ve always been more concerned with making a straight beeline for my favourite fishing hole. Today was different.
I then headed back to the SUV, packed away my fishing gear, and brought out my painting gear. I spent the next several hours painting the foundation for two works, this one and Boyne River at the Campsite. For the ensuing weeks, I would spend hours painting there and even more time observing. I never realized or appreciated the diversity of trees and plants there. I began to closely scrutinize each one, etching into my memory its composition, colour, and response to light or lack of it.
There was a misty haze over the valley that day that, coupled with the high noon sun, rendered the sky a piercing bright white. As I painted the foundation for this work, after glancing up at the sky intentionally or not, I had to wait several minutes before my eyesight would adjust back to normal.
In order to achieve the desired perspective in my paintings, having regard for detail and colour, I begin with painting a complete background and successively layering complete foregrounds until the work is finished. When I say, “complete”, I mean I paint entirely what lies behind the objects in the foreground. As the painting progresses, an earlier “layer” may be largely covered by a subsequent layer, which makes one wonder, why bother. I firmly believe that the extra time and effort is worth it for the results. This technique is virtually impossible to achieve working from a photograph because, unless you make it up, you can’t peel away the foreground of a photograph to see what lies behind it. A photograph is strictly two-dimensional while painting on location allows you to explore the depth of the landscape scene.
As with all my works in progress, you’ll be able to follow their progression to completion. The image above shows the completed work, while the images below follow the work from beginning to end.