by Janet Glatz
Man. I have never worked so hard on a painting as the one that’s on my easel right now. I deliberately chose this scene because it contains the things I’ve been trying to master: realistic flowing water, and life-like foliage. After watching teaching videos about a hundred times, and practicing a lot on watercolor paper, I felt that I had the foliage down. (Oh, yeah.) I also practiced the water quite a bit. Strangely, though, it was the water that turned out to be the easier piece.
In this painting, there are old hemlock trees, a couple of young deciduous ones, a whole bank of ferns, and a lot of moss. The ferns were a bear-because there were so many, and because they are made up of so many small parts. Had I tried to paint each part of every plant I would have been a month on those alone. So I fudged a bit on the farthest away and put more attention on fewer close up ones. I didn’t have any trouble with the moss.
Painting in the hemlock forest started out fairly easy—just a bunch of straight trunks and branches fading into the background. The trouble came when I attempted to add the sparse little bunches of needles. Frankly, I made a mess of it. So, then I had to repaint most of the tree grove before I could take a second shot at that darn foliage.
It takes a great deal of finesse to paint delicate foliage in such a way, and in such color tones as to be identifiable, but not overly obtrusive. I started out pretty well, but as often happens, my patience deserted me and I got heavy handed. Damn.
I had been quite happy with the deciduous tree which stands midground in the composition. Trouble is, it was overlying a piece of the background I messed up, so half of the tree went with it. I also realized that I’d neglected to leave enough open space among the branches of that tree, so I’ve added them. They will blend in when I add back the leaves.
All that being said, I am posting here the painting as it stands right now. It should take me another week to really finish it.
Patience, patience, patience, patience…………..