Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cedar Lake Quick Studies

These small studies force you to “Keep It Simple” and concentrate on shape, color and composition. In the end simplification is about creating the feeling of the place without actually providing a lot of detail in the painting.

Suggesting a subject with a series of abstract marks is challenging and provides a great opportunity to explore and experiment. And I think you can learn as much from these small 4x6 thumbnail paintings as larger studio works.

Using one large No 6 or 8 bristle brush will force you to work on brushwork by varying the pressure and angle, using the width, broad end, flat edge and corners of the brush.
I like to refer to this as the brush dance, but it is probably closer to ballet or fencing.

Small studies will help you think abstractly and develop your color sense. The results can be the inspiration  for a larger studio painting or they can stand on their own merit.
Either way there is no better teacher than pushing paint around.

Cedar Lake is a 1,750 – acre (7.0km) reservoir in Southern Illinois located at the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, southwest of Carbondale. 

Although the primary purpose of Cedar Lake is to provide water to the residents of Carbondale, this scenic reservoir provides recreational opportunities to visitors beyond Jackson County. Because the Shawnee National Forest borders the southern portion of Cedar Lake, about half of its 30-mile shoreline is owned by the U.S. Forest Service. Hardwood forests, cedar trees, and sandstone bluffs line the shoreline.

 With 100 foot sandstone bluffs rising directly out of the water and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities, it is our favorite lake to kayak in Southern Illinois.


This is a pretty rare scene; a copper head, easily over two foot long in the water below the rock cliffs. It seemed to be hunting the small fingers of the bluff, we watched it for sometime before we lost track of her.

Oddly enough when we arrived at the swimming hole everyone was a bit apprehensive about diving in.

Have a great day, make great art.  Jim Serrett

The Shawnee Forest Illinois Hidden Gem
The Shawnee National Forest