View Full Version : moving water and rocks WIP/Demo

Deborah Secor
03-12-2008, 04:59 PM
Here's Kat's pic:


I tweaked it in PS, rearranged a couple of the foreground rocks, heightened the saturations, etc:


Then I did a very quick sketch, which helped me decide about the background and how simple it could be:


Then I set up a piece of reclaimed Wallis paper and did a charcoal and white pastel drawing, very loosely, on the paper:


Here are the color layers. I haven't tweaked the color or cleaned up things much, just "raw footage", if you will:

1--very broad lay-in to get the darks and lights in place.

2-finding the ring of warm around my area of interest.

3- playing with some harmonizing of medium colors, the warm-cool push/pull.

4- adding warms in the water in the fore.

5- massing the light again.

6- modulating background areas, tweaking warms in fore.

7- beginning detail on water.

This is as far as I've gotten on it. I'm not thrilled with it. Right now all the rocks on the far bank seem the same size and shape, and some color modulation is needed to catch the sense of aerial perspective.

It was good to get dusty and play with water. As I find time to tweak this one I'll show you what comes of it.

Hope it's at least somewhat instructive!


03-12-2008, 05:17 PM
Fun Deborah...makes me want to play.

Deborah Secor
03-12-2008, 05:21 PM
Have at it, Richard! :D

If anyone wants to look at a couple of drawings of water and rocks, just quickies, not finished studies, you can check my blog here (http://deborahsecor.blogspot.com/2008/03/water-and-rocks-drawings.html).


03-12-2008, 05:27 PM
Thanks a lot, Deborah. Very very interesting to see the progress! I'll study it carefully, to learn more about water. And rocks. And painting boldly, with large free strokes.

Just one thing you mention: The "ring of warm around the area of interest". Very interesting, I can sort of figure it out, but as I've never heard about it before, would you explain, or point to where the info is?

Thanks a lot!

03-12-2008, 05:56 PM
very cool, deborah--I love having this much detail in a wip. I can really see what you did in each step!! Can't play in the water today--someone was wakened by the dogs barking at a delivery person, and is yelling "UP! UP!"--maybe tonight or tomorrow....

Kathryn Wilson
03-12-2008, 06:46 PM
Deborah - since I actually did paint this scene in Bob Rohm's workshop, it is really exciting to see how you go about it. I failed miserably at balancing on rocks and painting at the same time ... lol.

water girl
03-12-2008, 06:53 PM
Deborah, thank you for taking the time to do this. The colors are absolutely beautiful.

Winny Kerr
03-12-2008, 07:03 PM
Hi Deborah,
Now how do I save this wonderful demo of yours so I have it as a guide.
It is so instructive and and I'd love to keep it.

03-12-2008, 07:07 PM
Hope it's at least somewhat instructive!


wow, deborah ... you hope it's at least somewhat instructive? ... it's hugely instructive !! ... maybe or maybe not i'd be the only one that'd say *it boggles the mind* how instructive it is !!! ... you've poured so much into rearranging a scene to make it more interesting and aesthetically pleasing with all kinds of skills and abilities from compositional theory to colour and temperature theory ... i'd have to say that honestly, i couldn't say that i put that much conscious effort into a painting but merely wing it ..... which undoubtedly is the reason why my art so often falls short of being fabulous art ... i tend to lump that reason into *lack of imagination* but have to admit it is more of lack of knowledge, skill, ability and intuition .... i'm very interested to see how *and why* you continue to develop this painting into your final masterpiece ... as for your not being thrilled with it at this point, perhaps you just need a moment away from it to refresh after all that you've put into it thus far !! ... i'll go out on a limb to suggest that perhaps giving the water it's directional flow will *make it right* for you ... at the moment, it pours and pools but gives no direction of where it's going in this portrait of a waterfall ....

in short ... a resounding *yes* !! ... it is instructional ... hugely so !!!

03-12-2008, 07:07 PM
Deborah - I love how you pull color out of what is IRL a rather banal (color-wise) scene. I "get" the ring of warm you've created to bring the viewer in and will think more about that in my own work. Thanks so much for taking the time to document your process! I know how much time it takes to do so.

Merethe T
03-12-2008, 07:32 PM
Ah, this is wonderful!! Very helpfull indeed, gonna study it and see if I can unlock the secret of landscapes...:)
I'm glad Charlie mentioned the "ring of warm", made me curious too....could you tell us a little more about that? Prettyplease...? :D

Love your colors, and I can't for the life of me get so loose and bold, I'd love to be able to paint like that! Thank you for doing this...


Deborah Secor
03-12-2008, 08:31 PM
I managed to get another bit of time in before the light was gone, so here is where it stands now.


I'm happier...

The ring of warm I mentioned is really nothing mysterious. I just wanted the key rocks surrounding the water to contrast in color with the water, so I created a warm ring. I wanted to keep the rocks in the back a little cooler and quieter. So I always start with higher color and higher contrast, and then work over it to one degree or another, depending on whether I'm painting realism (like this) or my other, looser style.

I'll look at it later and let you know what more I do, if I change anything. I warn you, though, sometimes I wait six months before going back in!


03-12-2008, 08:53 PM
I love it !!!! Inspires me to do a landscape in pastel. I haven't done very many landscapes but perhaps I will :)

03-12-2008, 09:20 PM
:thumbsup: Ye Haa! that is really nice, the movement and clarity of the water is wonderful. :crying: Six months :lol: guess I'll have to tune in later :D uuuhh maybe much later :lol:

03-12-2008, 10:10 PM
Deborah, this is GORGEOUS!!!!!!

I love the way you interpreted the colors!

As a Demo, it's like fast-forward magic movies, things are changing under my eyes, and I'm trying to keep up with what happened from one stage to the next!
it's not as easy as you make it seem!

Absolutelly fabulous!!!!!!

03-12-2008, 11:26 PM
ahhh yes .... you've gotten that water moving and alive !! ... fabulous job !

03-13-2008, 12:11 AM

This is a wonderful WIP, thank you so much.

I have one tiny thing that I would like to respectfully point out, it is really VERY insignificant, but feel compelled to anyway....:o :D

The top row of rocks, fourth from the left, the warm one, seems to be outlined underneath and not actually sitting in the water.... probably is my monitor. But maybe could use a very slight softening of the edge where the rock meets the water. Beautiful color!

WC Lee
03-13-2008, 01:43 AM
wonderful WIP :)

Donna T
03-13-2008, 07:47 AM
Thanks so much for doing this and showing all of the steps, Deborah. What amazes me the most are the bold colors you used in the beginning and how you gradually adjusted them to very natural, yet vibrant, colors.


03-13-2008, 08:29 AM
I really like the sense of the rocks of the stream bed, shimmering beneath the surface of the pool. The ability to convey that never ceases to amaze me.

Great demo, and inspiring, too, as my next project will feature a lot of close-up stone... so this should prove helpful.

03-13-2008, 08:34 AM
A very instructional WIP Deborah. Thank you so much for showing all the steps you've done on this lovely piece. She's a beauty.

03-13-2008, 09:18 AM
Thank you for the wonderful demo. It inspires me. Your colors are very harmonious.


03-13-2008, 12:39 PM
thanks deborah for your work on this! very helpful!!

03-13-2008, 01:07 PM
Thanks so much for the great WIP! Yes very inspiring & beautiful!!

03-13-2008, 01:11 PM
This is super....I love how you put it all together...I might have to print this one out!

Thanks, Deborah!


03-13-2008, 01:48 PM
Beautiful color and very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to demo this.


03-13-2008, 01:53 PM
i love it, thank you for showing us how you go about it! :clap:

03-13-2008, 03:47 PM
Deborah, Thank you for sharing this demo with us. It is fabulous! I'm going to put this one in my file.


Deborah Secor
03-13-2008, 07:10 PM
Wow, you guys make me happy to have posted this! I'm so glad that it's helpful. I wasn't trying to be falsely modest, it's just that I feel like I should write so much more to explain everything, which is hard to get done sometimes--but I should have known that you all are as visual as I am and can SEE what's happening... :D


03-13-2008, 07:17 PM
WOW thank you for sharing this demo

Dot Hoffman
03-14-2008, 12:14 PM
Deborah, this is awesome!!!!

Deborah Secor
03-14-2008, 05:24 PM
I showed this at class yesterday and I think it was a hit. I've started another painting as a demo there and will try to show it, as well, perhaps in its own thread. I do have a shot of the drawing, but not progress shots, which are too hard to do during a demo.