Saturday, May 23, 2009

Go out in joy!

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12

Woodland Stream ©2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
5 x 7 • acrylic on Gessobord
SOLD • private collection, North Attleboro, Massachusetts

A few years ago, back when I was single, I went on a road trip with a few of my girlfriends to see the Passion Play at Eureka Springs, Arkansas. While we were there we walked all around Eureka Springs, an extremely charming 19th century Victorian village nestled in the Ozark Mountains.

Recently, while organizing my photos, I came upon some of my pictures from that trip, including this beautiful mountain stream. I decided it would make a good painting, and voilĂ ! -- that’s French for “Ta Da!” -- Woodland Stream.

The dappled light through the trees is one of my very favorite things to paint. I also love the word “woodland.” So far I think I’ve used it in about six or seven painting titles: Woodland Garden, Woodland Path, Woodland Hideaway, Woodland Tabby, Woodland Lunch, Woodland Bistro, Woodland Piano. (Those last few aren’t really paintings yet, but I have ideas!) I’m just partial to the woods, I guess.

Oh, and I have a new favorite color. There are few colors quite as beautiful as a daub of Old Holland New Masters Naphthol Red Medium freshly squeezed onto the palette.Yum! I just had to add a few little dabs of that pure red in strategic places in the picture.

Here are my work in progress photos for this:

The initial sketch in black, white and Venetian red:

Blocking in color areas, and adding a Cobalt Blue glaze over entire painting.

Continuing to add layers of color and detail, working mostly from dark to light, and and keeping in mind that the darkest area is the riverbank on the right and the lightest area will be the sunlight trees at the head of the stream.

Adding in the light behind the trees in the background. Fun!

I really like defining the tree branches by painting in the negative spaces between them.

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