Some paintings are quick to start and slow to finish. Last Days of Summer is based on a walk to another Wayland pond last September, and the gorgeous early morning shadow falling lazily in from the wooded right caught my eye. I kept thinking about the scene all winter, and finally decided to commit it to a panel in March. One day of painting and then it sat, intimidating me for a month and a half, until I finally decided to just PAINT. Perhaps I needed to see leaves on the trees again and at least a few lily pads on the pond to get the inspiration back, but it finally began to come together. At first, I concentrated on the left side with its sunlight, blocking in the trees and patterns of growth along the shore line.
As I worked my way toward the center, I also began to carve out the sky through the trees, and introduced the far hill as a way to increase the sense of space in the painting. The original idea was influenced by the dark shadows on the right, but as I worked, it became clear to me that I would have to find excuses for lightening up the whole composition. The loosestrife was one way to add color and break up the long horizontal of the composition.
AS I continued to work my way to the right side, I glazed in shadows then worked into them while they were wet, allowing the wet glaze to unify the color. The water, especially, received many layers of glaze. I wanted to capture the effect of sunlight and shade, and the mystery of what was below the water’s surface. Quinacridone rose, yellow iron oxide, and red oxide, all being highly transparent, are wonderful in glazes.
Interweaving reflected light and the direct sunlight was the key to creating a bit of magic on the water’s surface. along with the interplay of late season duckweed (in all its colors) and a few last lily pads. Each painting I finish leads me toward ideas for another, and the direct sunlight and shadow on the pond’s surface deserves a large painting of its own. Enjoy!