One Last Pond Painting

Koi pond

I decided to paint one last acrylic of the Boise Train Depot pond.  There were quite a few large koi swimming in the pond and it seemed a shame to ignore their presence.  So here are a few more lily pads and one large koi.

Somehow, I forgot to take progress photos of this one, so you get to see the final right away.

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Pretty much finished

Boise train depot

After a few extra days of fiddling around, I think this one is pretty much finished.  I like the way this one has turned out. The building is delineated but not overpowering.   The white tower and slight orange of the roof reflect subtly in the pond surface.  The lily pads break up pond water but allow the reflections to come through.  I framed the whole thing with the green of the trees and a little bit of shore.  All in all, I think it worked out well as a minor foray in an architectural in acrylic.

The Boise depot

Depot pencil drawing

First layers of paint

After the success of the previous pond paintings, I thought the Boise Depot itself should finally have a feature.  I was not happy with the first achitecturals I did a couple of years ago, but I thought now it was time to try again, but with a slightly different emphasis.

As a compromise to my feelings of inadequacy in painting buildings with acrylics, I wanted to make the building recognizable, but not the main focus. One reference photo seemed to fit the bill.  While the main tower grabs the eye first, its reflection in the pond lets your eye move around to the water and surrounding vegetation.  I was not so intimidated with the building in the background and  I was feeling good about how the previous pond pictures had gone, so this seemed to be a good next step.  I was happy with how things gad progressed to this intermediate step.

Reed painting finished

Reeds in the lily pond

The reed painting is finally finished.  I must have sat and fiddled with it half a dozen times after I thought I might be done.  And I’m still not super happy with with it.  I kept playing with the shore line behind the reeds more than anything else.  I still think there is not enough definition, but I may just let it sit for a month and look at it later.

Others have said they like it, even thought I am not overly thrilled, so it must have some qualities.  (Mom said she’d take it today LOL)

Pond reed painting

Pencil up with the ground layer

Two sessions in

I thought I might be done with the pond paintings, but my husband commented in passing that he liked the reed reference photo. I said, what the heck, and decided to try another.

I was feeling pretty good about the three I had done so far, but this vegetation was quite different than the lily pads, even if the color palette was close to the same.  As I worked along, I tried to remember to keep it loose and define the shapes with dabs of color rather than sharp lines.  The preliminary work was okay, but I knew I needed more depth.

A third lily pond painting

Pond pencil up

First layers down

I have enjoyed these pond paintings much more than I thought I would.  It is the first time I have been even remotely satisfied with what I have done with acrylics since college (low those MANY years ago).

Since I felt that the relatively bigger size of the lily pads in the previous painting was harder for me to deal with, I decided to go bigger in the canvas (14″x11″) and smaller again for the pads.  This is actually a rather large size painting for me, so that added its own bit of stress.

I put down most of the water before I moved on to the lily pads.  It seemed easier to place most of the background down first and then add the vegetation on top of it.  Then I could also shade under the pads and adjust the water to add depth and interest.  I was pretty pleased at this point, much more so than with pond painting 2.  Smaller pads were definitely the way to go for me.  Who knows where this will lead in my acrylic adventure.  It’s been fun so far.

I thought number 2 was done

I thought it was finished

But now it’s redone

After I finished the painting in the first photo, I thought I was done.  I had added depth by increasing the yellows and oranges in the pads and yellow ocher to the water to make it less monochromatic.  But, still, the more it sat, the less I liked it, even as I worked on another, larger one.  I fussed with the colors more, taking out some details with broader brush strokes and putting more yellow ocher in the water, but something still wasn’t right.

One day, right after I had cleaned and put down the brushes on the third painting, it occurred to me  to just take out a few pads and thus increase the amount of water in the background.  I needed to think about it, but the next day I still thought it might be a good way to go.  So I did it.

In the end, I think I worked more on this little painting than the other two larger ones combined.  Still, I think it was worth it.

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