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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Extreme Makeovers for Plein Air Paintings: Spring Freshet

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Madeover: Spring Freshet
11x14 Oil / Available
Read about my process below

(Continuing my series of Extreme Makeovers for Plein Air Paintings.)

I like to paint snow and especially snow that has gathered around a stream.  I found one such scene not too far from my house, where I was able to set up on a little bridge directly over the creek.  Two things about this scene caught my eye:  the overall softness and the dynamic rush of water.  I was fairly happy with the result, but after having the painting framed and on my wall for a few years, I decided that the pattern of the rushing water swept the viewer right out of the frame. A painting should aim to keep the viewer within its four walls.


1. To help the viewer find a better way up the waterfall, I extend the water to the right, over the rock in the near foreground.  

2. In an effort to keep the viewer from going too far to the left corner, I lighten the water there.  Maybe I should just make it a snowy bank?

3. Now confident about that snowy bank, I paint it in.  It also balances the snowy bank on the right.

4. I add bits of ledge beneath the waterfall.  Rather than being swept out of the painting, the viewer can now crawl up the waterfall and into the scene.  I even give him some extra rocks to hang onto in case he loses his footing. 

5. Finally, I add touches of blue.  I always thought this piece was overly warm.  Cool accents of Cerulean Blue Hue on the water here and there offset the warmth.  I also harden the edges of some of the foreground rocks to add interest and also to contrast with the distant softness.

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