NC Mountain Creek Painting

Why am I painting this? This is another daily painting for the auctions, but also a step toward painting what I love, the North Carolina mountain creeks.

8×10″ Acrylic on canvas panel

Quick Literature Splurge: I’ve been reading “Fill Your Oil Paintings with Color and Light” by Kevin MacPherson and am inspired by his method of painting.  He teaches to paint what you see, much as Schmidt does in “Everything I Know About Painting”, but uses an approach of blocking in the darks, then lights… much like Richard Robinson does.  It makes it much easier to see the whole picture earlier and help with color harmony.  MacPherson’s book in now #2 as my go-to guide and I’d recommend it to anyone!

Notes for this painting: I started with a sketch using several different photos online as a sort of mash-up of all the things I liked in each.  Since this is mostly out of my imagination, there is no photo reference to paint strickly from MacPherson’s method, but I followed it as much as possible.  I started with the background blocking in dark (most to the right) then the light (the fog on the left).  As the third step I blocked in the “easy color” which was the green of the trees. In going back and forth, merging the fog to the forest, it background went quickly.  I kept it mostly a subdued color leaving the foreground to have the most contrast. The rock started out gray, but changed it to a light tan.  Much better contrast against a cool color background.

The waterfall: I tended to make it all white, but found only the foam and top needed it.  Everything else, limit to grey and whatever the color is behind it (dark rocks).

Foreground water: It’s hard to put the reds and tans down.  Seems unnatural at first, but its right in the pictures.  I tried to add rock jutting out to associate the underwater look of rocks.  By doing this, I think it helped the warm colors of other underwater rocks make sense.  Update: another artist from thecompleteartist recommended NOT having the foreground rocks. Hmm.  It’s debatable, but a good tip.

Ripples: get watered down white and make streaks.  Also, use greens as reflections from trees.

Fun painting!! This is worth scaling up to a 16 x 20″ and adding some more detail. As much as I love these creeks, there will be a lot more to come!


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