Painting the Path of Light
One of the things that attracts me most to watercolor is the so called "path of light" created by leaving spaces either unpainted or with minimal washes of color. In the painting Hangin' with the Buoys, I have created a sun dappled scene not so much by painting, but by leaving areas unpainted. Some subject matter, such as the rocks and water are implied, rather than articulated. The rocks and water have very little detail; a soft wash of color here and there. Because their detail has been minimized, we are drawn to the collection of buoys hanging from the trees, which is
the focal point of the painting. In painting the buoys, I relied more on painting the trees and foliage around them (negative space) and letting the shapes of the buoys emerge from that space. I later added soft washes of color on the buoys to create form and shadows. When we first bought our camp in 2007, I saw this scene at the end of the lake and knew that eventually I would paint it. I have taken several photos over the last few years and it's always a challenge when you are sitting in a kayak. As soon as you get your kayak into the correct position for the best shot, you float away as you are retrieving the camera from the camera bag. It usually takes me several attempts to get it just right, but I enjoy the process! This is the second painting done from this scene. The first painting was also done in watercolor, but included a much broader expanse of space. I like the tight, close-up version here, where the subject matter becomes more important than the entire scene. The third version of this painting is in acrylic paint and I am currently using that to demonstrate techniques to my Tuesday night painting class. It is interesting how our choice of medium can determine the outcome of the painting. The acrylic painting has a completely different mood and will be the subject of the next post.