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Cold River Day. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
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MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW? Part II
To begin, a brief update of the previous post, Walking On Sunshine.
Three similar, but different paintings finished days apart, Cold River Day, Walking On Sunshine, and a currently untitled third work, each inspired by a single scene along the American River.
The subject of this post , Cold River Day, occurred during a Free Friday session. Cold River Day, while inspired by an actual location was created several yards away from the scene. The painting was completed without a preliminary value plan, sketch, or photo. However, several days after completing the painting, I returned to the area to take the image seen below. I wanted the photo for this blog to illustrate the fact that one does not have to always attempt to replicate a scene exactly as it appears. The late watercolorist Henry Fukuhara noted that painters “can move mountains.” For me, the idea is to depict not what is, but what might or ought to be. Not an original thought, but a valid one just the same.
A series of recent storms left the American River parkway flooded. On this particular Friday the water had receded. I walked along the trail to the usual Painting location to assessed the situation. The ground was still wet and muddy. Expecting that I might not want to set up to paint in mud, I took along a half-sheet of cold pressed, watercolor paper clipped to my painting support. From where I stood, I looked out over the river and, with an ink pen quickly sketched some shapes, loosely based on the scene before me. This process took no more that a minute. I then walked back to higher, drier ground (the parking area) and began painting the first of two watercolors..
The first painting of the morning, currently finished but as yet not titled, nor posted was allowed to dry in an unfinished state. The second painting, Cold River Day, was then started, but this time I allowed my imagination to take over. The initial process was one of attacking the paper in a non-objective manner. At this point I had no intention of doing much more than slapping some paint on paper and seeing where it would take me.
My painting support was at about a 75 degree angle, as I rapidly applied paint, wet on dry and allowed shapes to drip and blend. Gradually, I sensed the suggestion of shapes that might be trees, foreground debris, water, and background sky blending together. At this point I decided to stop to allow the first layer to dry completely. Time to pack up and head indoors with two unfinished paintings.
Later that afternoon and evening, back indoors I completed the morning’s first painting. The following day I worked on Cold Water Day. This painting, unlike Walking On Sunshine was more laborious in nature. I decided to develop a warmly dominate, split complimentary color scheme featuring an orange sky and orange water. I next decided to mask out the two main, blue tree forms and green foreground to allow a smooth, gradated sky and water. These days, I normally try to avoid the masking process, which in this case was done with tape.
Next came the orange sky and water, and then time to allow that layer to dry before proceeding further. Off with the tape, and an attempt to pull things together. After that a period of evaluation. I decided all the painting needed was one last layer of yellow to further unify shapes and improve color harmony.
Realizing I had a Market Place demo coming due in a few days, I decided to use this piece as part of the demo. I would work out a sketch, a value plan from this piece, use that to start the demo and finish Cold River Day, with the final layer of yellow and whatever else it might need. That was the plan. However, the creative process, like life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, I believe it worked out better than expected (scroll down to see previous post – Walking On Sunshine).
In the near future I hope to post the first of the three paintings mentioned. The painting is completed, but currently untitled.
Availability and pricing information for this painting can be found by following THIS LINK.