Monday, 19 September 2011

Mirror Reflections, Derwentwater

 Oil on linen canvas, 15.75 x 24 inches

This is another Derwentwater painting that is perilously close to being chocolate-boxey, but I think I've just got away with it. With mirror-reflections on still water, it's not easy to stop it looking twee. 

I ummed and arred about whether to put the big foreground rock in, but without it, it would have looked even more twee with perfectly symmetrical reflections.  I did reduce the size of it so it didn't dominate too much, but the darks in the shadowed parts of the rock provided a nice foil to the lighter tones of the band of trees and mountains and it also had lots of interesting contours with varying degrees of lit surfaces within it.

Painting the actual reflections is the easiest and most enjoyable part of the painting technically, though a sustained period of concentration is required to make the tones slightly duller than that which they are relecting, to convince the viewer that this is water.  If you squint you will see that the sky reflections are darker than the sky itself - although still water acts as a mirror, because you are looking through the water as well as light bouncing off it, it always appears a little duller than the ground above.  Have a look next time you're by still water, especially on a sunny day after rain when the silt is disturbed and the water becomes muddied - the reflections then can take on a very glazed colour and can be really beautiful.

By the way, I've made every effort to make these images as accurate as possible, but the camera is not adequate enough to capture the nuances and subtleties of colour and tone in paintings, and of course, each of you will be looking at your own individual screen, which most likely is not calibrated unless you have a bit of technical kit so to do.  Therefore, in short, the paintings will look a lot different to how you see them on your monitor, and hopefully, a lot better.  Just in case you wonder why I paint blue trees, or pink grass, or green sheep........


  1. I love this painting, but I love your sense of humour too. Good job you decided to include the big rock. It's in just the right place for the composition and anchors the whole work, while your talent then draws us from it throughout the whole piece.

  2. To Kirk, thanks for the reassurance from a fellow painter - I appreciate it!



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