a plein air landscape
9" x 12"
Watercolor on cold press paper
Sunset at the lake is pure magic, even in winter. I worked from my car in the rapidly chilling air as I watched the resident Canada geese come in for the night, chatting companionably to one another. Cooley Lake is an old oxbow of the Missouri River, slowly succumbing to the inevitable eutrophication process of filling in with mud and decaying plant matter, becoming ever shallower. It is a Missouri Department of Conservation natural area, now, and open to the public, a lovely place to watch birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, and spend time with your sketchbook or paints.
I chose prismatic colors the capture the chilly winter light, and worked very fast--darkness comes so early in midwinter!
Sometimes you don't want to take time for resists to protect the lightest areas in a painting; when the light is changing so rapidly it just was not an option, so I painted around the sun's path on the water, using a bit of drybrush work to enhance the illusion of the sparkle of light on water. A few "ripples" added with a darker gray-blue and a small round brush reinforced the feeling of the still water.
You can see the prismatic color, above--I used mostly yellow ochre, cobalt blue, permanent rose, and a touch of granulating manganese blue hue. I was careful to preserve believable lights in the distant pools, as well, painting in the shape of the land once the first washes were completely dry.