Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stockbridge River Sketch

Stockbridge River – Acyrlic on Canvas 12” x 16”

I set up on a small bridge near tumbledown mountain years ago to complete this on location sketch in early spring years ago.  Some of my on location paintings are quite complete – others are very rough.  It depends on a number of factors from time, subject, weather conditions, and my reason for painting the particular subject.  If I’m experimenting with a new medium, new technique, et cetera, I’m not very concerned about producing a “finished” painting.  Though unfinished, this painting is one of my favorites because of the memories of the day with my father in law.

The spring runoff from the mountain was roaring on this particular day, and being on the bridge in the shade of the valley and trees was very  cold.  I hardly noticed how cold I was until I did the trees in the closest forground.  The broken paint strokes were as much a physical response as a stylistic one.  I’d planned to complete the birches with black spots throughout but by then I was too cold.

I find in expansive settings, particularly in the mountains, it can be difficult to choose which subject to paint.  They sky and lighting on the mountains wasn’t particularly interesting on this day, rather hazy, so I decided to focus on this subject.  I think that this subject would also be interesting in bright daylight and shadows creating patterns of light on the river, trees, and rocks.  This sketch will remain unfinished but will serve as a refernce

One lesson I learned on this trip was to pay close attention to your surroundings.  My father in law and I drove in as far as the snow let us, and then we hiked the rest of the way to this location.  Neither of us had really considered how much the tote road would soften as the snow melted throughout the day.  We made it out fine, but there were a few times where we thought we would be spending the night.  I try to make it a point to bring extra clothing, blankets, etc when I'm painting somewhere off the beaten trail.

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