I’ve never attempted a landscape dominated by a great expanse of rippling water before, and now I know why: painting it was a dreadfully tedious pursuit! AND YET, after a particularly wrenching week of work, forcing myself to solve the problem of how to paint all those ripples turned out be a great stress reliever (well, actually, more like a STRESSFUL stress-reliever, if you catch my drift)! Who knew? There were plenty of times when I thought I was in over my head, but seeing the final result, I’m glad I took the plunge. Sometimes, all you can do is just dive right in (and also “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”).
(Sorry for the terrible water-related puns, but I just couldn’t help myself) 😉
I have made some New Year’s resolutions – although not many because, let’s face it, 2020 was an abysmal year, and I think that, on a certain level, it’s enough just to keep going every day. So with that in mind, and with the bar at a very low and comfortable level, I have vowed to devote 15 minutes a day to making art! And it can be anything: digital art, painting on canvas, serious studies, doodles, original work, fanart, commissions, prepping a painting surface, or gathering inspirational images for a future piece. As long as I’ve done something, I can check that day off my calendar. The goal is to have an unbroken line of check marks for the entire month. And so far, so good!
Thanks to the pandemic, I have been permanently ensconced in my dining room since March while my husband has taken over the office/studio. I really hesitated to break out the paints because the only space left in the house for artmaking was, well, right back in the dining room, and I felt that I was already spending enough of my waking hours there – not to mention the slow and insidious breaking down of the boundary between work and home that is a feature of Life these days. Mentally, how would I make the separation? If I’m sitting down at my easel, would I feel guilty and be unable to work if I heard that tell-tale “ping” from the computer letting me know that a Teams message has just arrived? If I crack open the water-soluble oils, will the smell of linseed oil (which I’m not a fan of) linger long after I’d done a final clean-up and make it harder for me to concentrate on my job the next day?
Thankfully, none of this has turned out to be a problem! Windows can be opened to clear out the smell of the linseed oil, and computer speakers can be turned off to ensure a peaceful studio (it helps that my co-workers also want to reclaim their lives outside of work, so the threat of urgent e-mails at 9pm isn’t really a thing after all). If anything, I find myself turning away from the computer every now and then throughout the day and looking longingly at my easel! (If any of my co-workers are reading this, you now know why I occasionally turn my head screen right and gaze wistfully into the middle-distance…)
View from the balcony of my step-mother’s cottage in the Laurentians.
If I were to do this piece again, I would make sure to paint the foreground trees with a sharper brush. I know in theory that foreground elements should be clearly defined, and background elements should be out of focus, but I don’t always remember to follow through with that!
This was one of the last sketches that I managed to complete during my lunch break at work. After this one, they all got some re-tooling on my computer at home. And not a moment too soon! The monitors at my office are not very well-calibrated (we’re animators, not graphic designers, after all!), so it was a bit of a shock to bring this piece home and realize I can see a lot more of the underpainting than I realized – or that the horizon line is a little crooked!
Ah, but that water… now THAT I count as a success!
AND if you’re camping at Mont Tremblant, and you’d like to score this view for yourself, just book Huttopia (Ready-to-Camp) site #74! If you don’t mind a short-but-steep hill, you can scramble down a little private path to the water’s edge, and then it’s just you and the lake! I must have taken a hundred pictures from that spot in al kinds of weather conditions, so expect to see more Mont Tremblant images in future!