It's The Challenges !

"Rock Soup"
watercolor 22 x 30 inches

Gaaaa !!!   To begin, my Photoshop crop tool isn't working and I don't know how to fix the problem!

But that is a small bother and nothing for which to become upset.   At least you can get the idea of what you are looking at in this photo . . . .
From a few days ago at Garrapatta State Park, this is the end result of the plein air painting.   All manner of challenges arose that day, including rain on the paper leaving little white dots in places that would appear to be some sort of painting imperfections.  My attitude at the time?   "Oh well!    Keep on painting!"   Most would have dashed for cover, but my buddy and I decided to just tuff it out.
I have reason for publishing this painting in its still unfinished state . . . .
That is the importance of values and paint density if one is to achieve depth and a sense of atmosphere.   Between the rocks in the very rearmost background, and the big dark rock in the foreground, you can see that there is considerable difference in the density of the paint.   In the background, to a moderately wet surface, I applied grayed color in the shape of the rocks with very little light or shadow.   It was most important to let the silhouette of the rocks do the talking.   I used transparent pigment in that part of the painting to further imply atmosphere.   In the very front, the large dark rock in the foreground was painted with a combination of opaque white gouache and other watercolor pigments to achieve the strong density of pigment to imply the feeling of closeness of that big heavy rock.

Also, if you click the image, you can barely see a little bit of texture spritzed onto the surface of the rock in order to make it seem even closer to the viewer.

As the other rocky peninsulas jut into the picture plane from the right side, edges and lines became less defined as they receded into the distance.   

So, you might ask, how much of this completion was done in the studio?   Very little actually, save for the foreground rock and a few lifted out highlights on the peninsulas.   Little adjustments to the flat plane of the water surface were also accomplished.   That was simply done with a rigger brush and wavy line to indicate foam lines.  

Painting rocks is a very challenging (and highly fascinating) process for me.   There are myriads of planes, cracks, seams and line that can become very confusing, not to mention temperature, texture and value changes that would baffle even the most skilled painter.   I suppose that is why I get so excited about painting them.   It doesn't always seem so, but I do get slightly better at it every time I tackle it.

It's the challenges that make painting so entertaining!