Listening for Loons

TM8272 Listening for Loons 16×16 oil on panel

Early evening, when the day fades away. A conversation from somewhere across the lake is the only sound – and then the loons call as night descends. I want to go back. Enjoy!

Technical painting notes: This painting was started by using a soft rubber brayer to roll on a thin reddish brown layer of oil paint. The sky area was left untouched. Selective wiping with a paper towel lightened the area where the rocky point would be, then textures were blotted out of the rock using mineral spirits and a scrap of  plastic. A moist brush was used “erase” a few rhythms of branches in the trees. At this point, I allowed the panel to dry a couple of days.

Returning, I glazed green into the trees and water, then painted the sky. Next, using a few shades of gray, I brushed very thin paint onto the rocks, trying to define them with as few strokes as possible.  Golden greens were used to highlight a few more branches, and some of the gray was dragged into the water to suggest reflections. The waterlilies were painted twice – the first time I used too strong a green and too pronounced an outline. I took a soft brush loaded with Liquin to drag the lilies and soften the effect. This seemed to work better. I did go back and add some yellow ochre and lighter green to suggest a band of floating duckweed. I wanted subtle details happening in the foreground, but not so pronounced as to distract from the rocky point and its trees. A harmonious effect and sense of quiet was my goal, and I kept reminding myself that less is often more..

6 thoughts on “Listening for Loons

  1. I love this one, especially the suggestion of duckweed in the foreground. I have been following along for a while now and this piece really speaks to me of the natural beauty of your part of the world. Thanks for sharing, Tania

    • If you try rolling on the base layer with a brayer, make sure it is a “soft” rubber brayer and the oil paint is thinned with mineral spirits and a touch of linseeed or stand oil. I like to add a bit of Liquin as well. Most panels aren’t absolutely flat, so if you have lots of “skipped” spots, just use a rag to lightly wipe the the paint evenly. It takes very little paint. Have fun!

  2. Fascinating to read the description of your process here — beautiful result, as always ~

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