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Lake Winnipesaukee (a beast to spell correctly) is about an hour from home and is a favorite New England vacation spot. Seeing that the water temps can get into the high 70s, it presents a significantly more attractive option for swimming than the beaches on the ocean, which in my experience average around 65 degrees in the summer. I can do 64 degrees “comfortably.” It was 60 degrees the last time I went in a couple days ago. Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

Winnipesaukee’s Brewster Beach is located in the town of Wolfeboro, and it’s there that we spent an afternoon during my sister Alix’s recent visit. This scene inspired me (the picture was taken by Alix):

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I began by painting the sky. Until recently, when I painted sky, I would bring the sky paint down just to the horizon/tree line and no further. Remembering a few painting lessons from a while ago, I did something different this time. I brought the sky paint all the way down to the bottom of the painting, except where I wanted to reserve white space (like the seagull, the sails in the background, and the boat).

At first it felt wrong—like I was ruining the trees and mountains by first painting a light layer of blue over them. But then I reminded myself that the the green of trees and the violet of mountains both have blue in them. In fact, most colors I mix have some blue in them.

The advantages of bringing the sky paint down:

  • It makes the line between sky and horizon/trees much less choppy.
  • It allows for nifty little “sky holes” to appear in the tree. I used to paint the sky holes in after I painted the tree, and it created choppiness. These look much more natural. Leave an area of the tree unpainted, and there you have a sky hole.
  • It creates a base layer for the water that’s the same color as the sky, which is true for real water—it generally reflects the color of the sky.
  • It creates more unity in the painting.

I also did my splatter technique to add some texture and depth and abstraction to the painting. And I left my pencil lines in this painting. My practice has been mostly to erase the pencil lines after I add pen. This time around I thought why not leave them in? I like the extra texture and complexity it adds to the painting. More expressive, I think.

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When I first drafted this blog post, the boat was white, which was it’s actual color (shown in the painting and photo above). Looking at the painting in the process of writing this blog post, I thought it might be nice to add some more color, so I simply added some yellow to the boat. Yellow felt like the right color. I didn’t like that, so I made it into orange. Wasn’t crazy about that, so I did cerulean blue. Here are the orange and blue versions.

Which do you like best? White boat, orange boat, or blue boat?

Note: Alix (standing in the water) and the seagull weren’t really having a staring contest. But that’s what emerged in the painting. 🙂

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