I was drawn to paint this creek feeding into the Umpqua River in Oregon because of the transparency of the water. It was so clear as to be invisible. I liked how the stream was quietly flowing even though movement was imperceptible.

The inspiration to paint “Clear Creek” came from the challenge of trying to render the busyness of the colors, patterns, and contrasts of the surrounding foliage and trees in comparison to the calmness of the water. I liked how the shadows of trees outside of the image cast perpendicular shadows across the view. I had everything in play here—warm and cool colors, soft and sharp edges, high and low-key color—all balanced against an interesting composition. I decided to paint this scene on a large canvas because you needed to be engulfed with the detail to fully experience the feeling of being deep in the woods.