I have always been enjoyed visiting a state park up in the Northwest corner of Arkansas called Devil’s Den. The rocks lining the river for miles and the only sounds are the birds and flowing water. I wanted to paint a fairly large picture that captures the tranquility of this special place.
Sorting through some of my photo reference, I start sketching some ideas. I think it might be fun to add a bear so I look for a reference and do a sketch of that too.
The photo reference of the creek is just for information only. I am not interested in copying this photo as it does not have the emotion that I want. An early morning might be more interesting.
First step is to very loosely block-in the overall painting with the basic colors using a large brush. After I allow this to dry for a few days, I am ready to begin the finished painting, from back to front.
I work on the sky and then the mountains, refining the shapes and drawing as I go with the paint, and always stepping back and taking the whole picture in and making sure it works well from a distance.
The painting up to this point has the look of a dry creek bed, because I will have to lay in the rocks and then apply the lights of the water to achieve the look of clear water. The thickest paint is applied last and will reflect the light shown on it when it hangs on the wall for a nice effect.
Here you can see it all framed up and on the wall. I look forward to enjoying this a few months before it travels to an art show. If you like this painting you may want to check out my instagram by clicking here