Fall in Winter – 9 x 12 watercolor
Today is the winter solstice and here in La Canada, California, the sycamores finally decided to show some fall color. All I can say is “it’s about time!” This is an impressionistic painting of Flint Canyon – an equestrian trail that borders a small creek here in our town. Due to the recent rains the water was plentiful, reflecting a brilliant blue sky (not shown — you’ll just have to imagine it). One of these days I’m going to go back to Hall Canyon and see how the sycamores are doing up there – and hope that there won’t be any mountain lions about.
This was painted with a very large round brush, quickly, and with a lot of thick, rich paint. The time of day depicted is about 11 am – and look how low the light is … you can tell by the light-struck sides of trees. If it were later in the year everything would be in deep shade with no sideways light.
A few things about leaves. Experienced teachers have always cautioned (whether painting in oil or watercolor) not to paint every leaf on a tree because it looks too fussy. Rather, paint the mass of leaves and then put a few distinct leaf shapes in to suggest the rest. Viewers are pretty clever, and we don’t have to put in minute details get the idea across. I think it’s rather like telling a good joke. If you have to explain it, it didn’t work.