French Broad River – 14.1 inches by 9.5 inches
This painting represents a bit of a turning point for me, and one that I hope takes me into new and interesting directions. The painting is of the French Broad River above Asheville, North Carolina, from a monochrome picture more than 100 years old which I found in a vintage book which belonged to my father in law. In the picture, there were no clouds and it was printed in drab sepia. I’m assuming that the picture may have been mid or late summer fom the amount of foliage on the trees, but that’s only a guess. It could have been mid-fall also. But for the purposes of this painting, it really doesn’t matter because I decided to invent a sky and a color palette that pleased me, regardless of what reality presented the day the picture was taken. I used mostly earth tones – raw sienna, a drab red, burnt sienna, prussian blue
In the coming year, I’m finally going to start working larger and with more expressive and inventive color, rather than just trying to render what I see in front of me. I feel like I’m already heading that way but I need to push it further, step by step and to continue loosening up. This painting, for example, was painted with only two brushes, a one inch flat Japanese brush and a No. 2 rigger – so named because it was good for painting the rigging of ships.
By the way, perhaps someone from around Asheville can tell me where this picture was taken and what it looks like today. I would imagine that there would be more bridges crossing it, and maybe it is developed with housing or businesses.
Edited to add: Thanks to Nancy at Wet Canvas for adding details about the location of this and the reassurance that it probably still looks pristene today.
I’m adding the reference photo for those who may be interested to see what I started with and where I ended up. Keep in mind that my objective was to compress the landscape down into the lower 1/3 or so of the page so as to exaggerate the sky, which means taking some liberties with geographical features.