This is a double award winning water color, sized 22″ by 30″ which was painted on Arches 140# cold pressed, 100% cotton rag paper.
It was painted in the studio and was based on photographs I took while walking along beautiful Oak Creek near Sedona Arizona. It’s a place I would gladly revisit every year.
At the moment of the best photo, the sun refractions made by the ripples on the water of the creek were not visible on the surface. But, they clearly showed through the crystal water and could be seen dancing on the submerged rocks below. It was as if there was no surface to the water at all!
It was only just to the right of that scene, where the water splashed over a small rapids, that the surface had visible reflections and foam. It was really a magical moment to see this and it was a significant challenge to try to capture that magical, momentary feeling.
The painting is my humble attempt to capture that amazing, etherial moment of the “sundance”.
In 2007 the DuPage Art League, Wheaton, Illinois, juried this painting into it’s exhibit, “A Place in the Sun”, and the painting was given an “Award of Special Merit”.
In 2009 this work was juried into the Red River Valley International Juried Exhibition, held at the Red River Valley Museum in Vernon, Texas, May 1 through June 19th. It was awarded the IESI Award.
This painting began as a demonstration for a watercolor course I taught in fall 2007. It was built from reference photos, almost like a photo collage, taken at the Churchill Forest Preserves near where I live. However, to enrich the image and composition, I added elements from Northside Park in Wheaton, and from my photo collection of flowers. The last mentioned was added last as I finally figured out the title for this painting.
The work is a very emotional reaction to the morning scene, soft light not yet too high in the sky, and the glory of God’s creation. It seemed to me that His whole creation was singing His praises. That’s when it finally came to me. “This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning bright, the lilies white, declare their Maker’s praise.” This painting is my, “Amen”.
Artistically, this was a very challenging painting.
• First, I wanted the intense but small color contrast of the red orange flower parts to vibrate against the overall green of the painting.
• Second, I wanted the solid hardness of the rocks to contrast the softer, textured areas of foliage.
• Third, I wanted a strong sense of balance and “rightness” in the design, but to avoid a “dead center” feeling, I shifted slightly those elements that made sense to change, to create a bit more dynamic placement for them. I wanted a still, quite, yet full of life image.
• Finally, while I wanted the strong warm and cool colors to work back into the distance and from the right to the left, I had to be sure to repeat these colors in many objects to ensure a feeling of unity and harmony in the painting. I am very pleased with the results!
The painting is 15″ X 30″ and is painted on Arches 300# cold pressed cotton rag paper.