Up till now, going through the Kruger National Park, we saw mostly dry grass and very little water. Now we found ourselves confounded by a wide river full of water!
What a beautiful site!
Our daughter stopped the car and we sat quietly gobsmacked looking at its vastness. It was so lovely in its still quiet serene immenseness.
And then looking further to our right, we saw this sight:
See the large bird’s nests in the tree on the right. And also the little nest in the tree in the distance, on the left. We waited to see which birds would inhabit these nests, but none came to claim them.
So we moved on, after a while.
But now the road started to dip lower, and on our left, we saw this scene:
It’s a perfect composition don’t you think? Well I thought so at the time, so I took out my camera hoping to capture it, to paint it someday.
What you are looking at now, is an oil painting I did of it.
How I painted it:
I blocked in the basic shapes of the things in the scene.
- Using a mixture of Cobalt blue and white for the sky and water area.
- A mixture of Raw umber and Sap green for the trees.
- And raw sienna and raw umber for the foreground, depending on the colour of the forms and areas.
Note: This coat of paint won’t be a dark as you see the completed painting. With each subsequent layer, you darken the dark areas. Building up the strength of colour, with translucent pigments wherever possible! Only use a little white here its necessary.
- And when the first block in was dry, I start on the sky again. I lighten it, leaving the blue haloes surrounding the trees.
- The blur of the blue halo creates an atmospheric condition between the sparse twigs. It also creates an emotional impact on people looking at it.
- And the subtle colour and brushstrokes within the outer lacy fringes of the trees, reduces the need to fill in every single tiny leaf and thin twig. No fuss, more gain!
- Also blurring creates the look of movement. And movement means life and perhaps there is a breeze happening!
- And also doing the similar method to the sky, for the river’s water: Leaving its blurred borders and using a dryish brush, it gives the water a shimmering look.
Then, with the next coat of paint, on another day, I start to fill in the lighter tints. This is to create forms, misty shadows and pinholes in the foliage of the trees.
- Up to this stage, most things are blurred, with no fussy details.
And then with the last coat, another day, I fill in the details, fallen sticks, twigs, grass and flick of highlights. The white spotlights are the sunlight shining on wet or shiny leaves!
But notice something?
…About this painting?
Standing close-up to the painting, the trees on the far bank aren’t so misty.
- Usually things in the distance are lightened up, perspectively. So you feel the atmospheric dimension, from the foreground in relation to the background.
- But when I tried to do that, in this scene… it fall apart! Somehow it didn’t hold together. The scene lost its cosiness and leafiness.
- I had to subtlety adjusted things, until I got the right ambiance. To do that, I had to stand back and access its depth and dimension.
- I had to rely on the sunlight filtering through the trees. To create form and causing rim-lights.
- The subtle depth of the foreground tree’s shadows, gave further depth, to create perspective dimension of the whole scene. Thus, we get about four dimension stages from the back to the front.