First a 9" x 12" sketch to test my colors... and resolve...
Then a much bigger half-sheet, 15"x 22"
Here's the scene...
Lots of red-winged blackbirds chattering, and with the warblers almost drowning out the nearby highway noise it was easy to forget that this is sort of an urban wild. The water and sky seemed almost flat today, and the subtleties of the silvery brown marsh grass tops in the distance eluded me.
Back home, I considered what I'd done carefully and decided to risk ammending the sky and water:
That helped it, but the decision to ignore the sort of unconvincing boats and the foreground grass when I was on site has, I think, contributed to a weak composition.
So... I've been reading about an influential American painter/teacher Edgar Whitney who was a stickler for doing value sketches before picking up the brush, for paying close attention to the princples of design in trying to Transform & Translate nature rather than attempting to Transcribe it. Paintings need a Center of Interest/Attention, and the design needs to serve it... all the old saws about line, shape, value, direction, rhythm, etc are absolutely important and you ignore them at your peril.
I think I need to learn the difference between a wonderful place to sit looking at the view and the elments of a wonderful painting.
And I might go back into this painting and try and beef up the interest, detail, contrast at the bend in the river in the middle distance to that end.