Monday, May 9, 2011

Sketching Karen's Waterfalls

I've been painting and sketching the waterfalls on my own property lately, so when my friend Karen invited me to come and paint hers for a change, I jumped at the opportunity. My friend Gretchen came along too, and the three of us set up to paint beside this waterfall.

There's a reason why our town was nicknamed The Land of Falling Waters by the Indians. There's nowhere you can go in that town and not hear the sound of rushing water from a nearby waterfall, especially in spring. Much of the water that comes down from the Catskill Mountains passes through our town of rocky ledges, spilling over into waterfalls on its journey to the Hudson River.

As I often do when checking out a new location, I just packed some sketching materials. I didn't know how far we'd have to trek to the falls, or what spots would yield the most interesting compositions, or if there would be somewhere to set up an easel. I brought some ink pens and watercolors, and my Fabriano Venezia Journal that I'm working through. After doing the sketch above mostly in watercolor, I moved further upstream to take on a larger waterfall.

I did the one above with Private Reserve Black Velvet ink, then worked my lights and darks with a waterbrush, taking the wash color from the washable ink lines. After that, I added some watercolor.

I moved back near where I'd done the first sketch, and this time did a composition that included more of the foreground, with the waterfall peeking through between the trees below me.

I think I like this last composition best. I'd like to return to do an oil painting, as well as additional sketches of other waterfalls on the property.

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