Cousins Farm pond

One of the most beautiful places that we painted on Lopez Island was at a farm on Cousins Road. Surrounded by apple trees, a garden in full bloom, some barns and two curious horses, it was an idyllic setting. In the afternoon we walked up to the pond (followed by those horses) that overlooks the property and instead of leaping straight into the painting we had to spend a bit of time looking and analyzing the areas in the scene that might be problematic. It really helps to spend a few minutes painting a little section of the scene instead of finding out in the middle of a painting that you don’t know how to deal with an area.



What seemed most difficult to me was the glint of sun on the dark pond on top of the tree reflections in the water, so I tried it out first on a test sheet. You need a really dry brush to create that glint. Of course you need to be able to replicate the test too, because as you can see, that glint of sun was more successful than in the larger study.


Below is the test


10 Comments on “Cousins Farm pond”

  1. Donna says:

    Thank you for the tip. I’ve been painting plein air for years and still jump right in and mess up. I take the time in the studio with a painting but am not as careful outside. I needed a reminder to slow down.


  2. Les says:

    It’s great that you are sharing as you learn Shari. Too often good artists set themselves up on a pedestal. I like your honesty.

    I like the patterns you created in those trees.

    Sometimes I think that paintings should all be experiments with only some turning out to be keepers. FWIW, I certainly have plenty of “tragedies”. 🙂


    • I think maybe you were a fly on the wall during the workshop Les. Tom Hoffmann starts out every demo by saying “This is not a painting”. Everything is a study and sometimes, exactly as you say, one is a keeper. I agree completely.


  3. Chris Rusk says:

    I love how well you present depth in all of your landscapes. As with your all of your work, you’ve taken me to a place where I want to be. I understand what you wanted to achieve with the light on the water’s surface, however in the big picture, you’ve made it very easy for me to see what is there. Cheers!


    • I always appreciate your thoughtful comments Chris. I was actually quite happy with the way the painting turned out. I just would have loved to get the little glint as successfully as my test.


  4. marctaro says:

    Love the contrast of the hard edges in the trees and the soft water. Great tip with the test sheet too.


  5. Love the idea of a test sheet to try out problem areas. And slowing down:that, could ALWAYS could always learn from!


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