All in a Row, oil on canvas, 38×54

I like the strong contrast of light and shadow in this riverscape. I was positioned at a right angle to the morning sun streaming through from the left. This view offered many different textures to paint, and I always look for painting challenges. Intriguing shadows, transparency, highlights; this area has it all.

I tried to keep the shadowed area to the left thin and somewhat transparent. Mixtures were heaviest with phthalocyanine blue modified with ultramarine and manganese violet. Sometimes I use magenta as well.

The leafy trees in the middle ground were of several species, so I wanted to emphasize their differences by mixing separate green palettes for each tree. The highlights on these trees are to portray the shiny and waxy look of these riverine trees. I think that this was a transition area for the light coming through, where the light still reflects the blue of morning on the back trees and reaches full warmth on the center tree. Beneath the trees are several rocks all in a row, which gives this painting its title.

The challenge here was not to overpaint the details in the shadow areas, but rather suggest nooks and crannies with the flip of the brush. The highlights were cadmium lemon and white layered over each other until I got the brightness I wanted. It seems the whites lose their punch when they dry, so I overcompensate for that as I go along.

The oil paint mixtures for the water were mixed on the palette and applied with the knife. Again, I’m working with the same blues I mentioned, but l changed the proportions of my mixtures to achieve the look I was after. The coarser paint application lent itself well to making a convincing portrayal of the water.

In forefront has long wavy river grass. I did not over-detail this area because it was mostly in shadow. I mixed all the separate greens on the palette and applied them with a palette knife and further manipulated the oil paint with different brushes.