Ritter Creek is just down the road from our farm. Like the previous painting, French Lick Creek, this is painted on a orangey-red toned canvas. I was originally attracted to the composition of the cool, winding creek but I had a few more challenges with this painting. Unlike the late afternoon light of French Lick Creek, this was early morning light, looking at the sunrise across this small valley. The greatest challenge was the complexity. Just HOW many trees did I want to actually paint?! I simplified it a bit but even so, it still presented some problems. I found myself painting out trees and branches as I went along. Finally, I had the greatest difficulty addressing the darks of the trees. If I painted them too dark, then they overwhelmed the entire painting. Not dark enough, then there wasn’t enough contrast. That would be OK if I were a tonalist painter which I am not. Also, sycamores have a variegated bark of white and brown which in itself was a challenge. However, all in all, I am pleased with the final result. Below are the steps I took for this painting.
I was almost finished but something seemed off. I finally decided that the background trees needed shortening. Given perspective, they would have been HUGE. Also, one of the trees had way too many branches. It was looking like a fan so I edited it out. Sometimes nature needs pruning.