Thursday, January 16, 2014

#10: Amelia River

I find myself looking at things a bit differently because of my painting challenge. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about the colors I see, or the play of the shadows, or the composition of what I am seeing. Many times I think that maybe I should try to paint what I am seeing. In fact, there are so many times that I have wished I had my camera out while driving down the road that I have challenged myself to try to sketch what I am seeing. Since drawing is not my strong point, and is so integral to painting, this can only help in the long run.  Who knows? Maybe someday I'll have a collection of works that were "scene from the road"!

Inspiration for the painting:  the riverfront campground at Ft. Clinch State Park looks across to the mainland along the northern point of Fernandina Beach. 

I decided this might be a good subject for a painting. I took a few pictures of the view. This painting is an amalgam of several of the shots. While driving one day we saw some beautiful clouds in a stormy layer. I decided to add those to my painting of the river.
Additionally, my son gave me some paints for Christmas and I wanted to use them, almost exclusively in painting a scene. 

#10 Amelia River

8" x 10" canvas board

What I Like About the Painting:

  • The clouds went through a few iterations (I so love that I can paint over my mistakes!) I was attempting to use the technique demonstrated by Darrell Crow but failed miserably! However, despite those shortcomings, I was pleased with the dimensionality that I see in the sky.  
  • I was also pleased with the navigation buoy. The real buoy was green, but it got lost in the water, so my apologies to any boat captains for swapping your markers around!

What I Might do Differently:
  • I am of the opinion that the growth seen on the far shore is too colorful and too dark.  I feel I should have softened the colors to create a feeling of further distance. 
  • My tree has way too much Spanish moss on it, and it is also too colorful.  I think I was trying to use the moss to disguise a lousy tree!

What I learned:
  • I really need to spend more time and take care when painting the objects in the foreground. The grasses show quite a bit of detail, but that care was not extended to the tree. 
  • When I first completed the painting I was wishing I could crop the canvas. I was not pleased with the composition. Later I expanded the height of the clouds and added the tree to rescue the painting. I realize I really need to to a better job of sketching out my image before painting.   


  1. Those clouds are compelling! They pull my eyes like a tractor beam. I don't think your tree is lousy. I like how it breaks up the strong horizontal lines in your painting. I really love those clouds!

  2. I like the detail in the foreground. Perhaps a wash of burnt umber on the trees in the background would take them back further? I have a hard time doing my initial sketch as well. And/or painting over it accidently LOL