|"Great Falls Roaring" (oil, 14" x 11")|
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Waterfalls are magnificent to look at and difficult to paint. I have seen quite a few waterfalls, both in this country and mine (South Korea). The biggest was the Niagara Falls, although my favorites are those in Oregon. I shouldn't have tried to paint them on location until I had gained more experience in oil painting. Who knew that rocks, trees, and everything else seemingly kept moving when I first set out to paint Great Falls last summer? The noise, heat, and crowd got to me!
I went back and "Great Falls Roaring" was the second attempt at this popular tourist attraction, close to the nation's capital. The painting used to be a little bigger (16 x 12"), but I decided that I didn't really need that much foreground rocks and cropped it to the current size. It's not the best painting of Great Falls ever painted; it was, however, a great leap forward for me. So I am keeping it in my private collection.
It appears that the hardest part of painting waterfalls is keeping the balance between the hard and soft edges for the water. It has to have hard edges here and there to maintain form. On the other hand, if the water is hard-edged everywhere, the waterfall looks like icicles. Since waterfalls usually occur in a rocky environment, one also has to paint rocks convincingly as hard, three-dimensional, bulky objects. Surprisingly, neither tasks--painting water and rocks--are easy.
Does it sound like another mini-series coming up? Yes! How does one learn to paint something well unless one keeps at it many times? So I painted "Mountain Waterfalls" today. I don't know the name of this fall in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. But isn't it pretty? The upper falls looks like lady fingers! I thought that it would be a little easier to paint waterfalls from a photo. It wasn't. After lots of wiping out, I got this far. What do you think of the result?