“Evening Light on Lost Lake”
(Lost Lake ACEC, Oregon Coast)
Oil Sketch on Centurion Oil Primed Linen Panel
with an additional Priming Coat of Rublev Lead White in Oil
5” x 7”
At the end of both days that I worked on the previous painting of Lost Lake, I was impressed by the evening light, and determined to capture the mood in my next painting. So I went back for a third day and set to work. This view is about 70º to the right of that one. I began with an imprimatura of Venetian Red, and into this I blocked in the light and shade with Ultramarine Blue, partially from memory, but also deciding on compositional grounds where to organize these.
In John Carlson’s book on landscape painting (which I have read is referred to by some as the Bible for the landscape painter), he mentions painting with bristle brushes for his larger works, and with sables for his smaller. I had not remembered that when I began these small works in Oil, but I have been painting most of them with soft brushes such as sables, or synthetic soft haired brushes, partly by choice, but also because I wanted to brushes with short handles to fit into compact painting gear. On this one, and also the previous painting of Lost Lake, I used a #3 hog bristle brush throughout (made by Rowney and purchased 30 or more years ago), except of course, for my signature. It is a first-class brush, and I was surprised how I was able to get such narrow applications of pigment in the line-work of the dead tree trunks, for example, just using the chisel shape of the tip of the brush. Regular painters in Oil will not be surprised, but remember I’ve been mainly a Watercolour painter throughout my career. I had started with the bristle in order to start with a larger brush than my soft short handled ones and to see how far I could get before I would have to switch to the synthetic or sable soft hairs, but in the end I stuck with the bristle all the way to the end; it was also about 5/16” in width. I liked the character of the brush stroke as well, and you can see this in the sky of both paintings, where a little bit of the warmth of the imprimatura shows through; the strokes are also more evident.
While painting here I’ve been mulling over the dead tree trunks sticking up from the water throughout the lake. Usually this is because man has built a dam and formed new lake behind, but these trees look to be old possibly centuries old. I reckon that what happened was that some hundreds of years ago, the sand dunes, which are to the left beyond the trees in the last painting, blocked off the outflow stream and formed a natural dam thus forming this small lake.
Pigments used Cerulean, Cobalt & Ultramarine Blues, Yellow Ochre, Venetian Red, and Cremnitz White, with a very little Cadmium Yellow & Cadmium Yellow Pale for the brighter greens.