Painting People Outdoors
12 x 9
I struggled to separate his earth-toned, middle-value jacket from the surrounding earth-toned, middle-value landscape - a bit like trying to paint a camo-clad figure in the woods - and finally succeeded by making the shadows on his back a warm blue (touched with red) and making the water next to this a cool (green-toned) blue. Leaving some of the brown underpainting to delineate his form also helped sort that area out.
There was much more land around him in the actual set up: a piece of the bank jutted out over his head on the left, but I found that it made him feel enclosed and oppressed when I painted it in and it was just too busy. By removing it, I could develop the reflections, incorporating interesting, abstract shapes and textures, and still keep a sense of open, airy lightness. This detail shows it better than I can tell it.
There's a lot of palette knife work in this one!
It was a challenge to capture a figure in the landscape, but it was worth the work. The painting reminds me not only of the place, but also of the company and conversations of that good day.