Friday, July 12, 2013

My Favorite Place to Paint : Jim Serrett - with Demo

Red Kayak 5x7in oil on panel © Jim Serrett

Cedar Lake, it is just such a tranquil place to kayak and do some sketching. The southern portion of Cedar Lake is located in the Shawnee National Forest and about half of it's 30-mile shoreline is owned by the U.S. Forest Service. With 1,750-acres to explore you can find beautiful secluded coves surrounded by towering sandstone bluffs bordered by hardwood forests and cedar trees. The powerboat limit is 10 horse (7.5 kW) or less and with no development along it's shore it can be a very tranquil paddling spot.

On our last trip we took a friend out for a her first kayak adventure and had the amazing experience of an American Bald Eagle swooping down between her and my Linda’s kayak, snatching up a fish from the water within feet of both boaters. Fantastic!

The Point North 5x7in oil on panel © Jim Serrett

Paddling this lake can get you into a great mental state of mind, there is so much enjoyment in just being out there observing and seeing wonderful natural places. Finding a nice quiet spot along the bluffs and painting en plein air with my little cigar box makes for a perfect day. Add a little picnic and getting a toe or two wet and you have incredible day.

I find that the imagery on the lake changes constantly making it challenging subject matter. The sky and clouds reflecting onto the water always have some interesting value or color relationship.  Always drawn to that link, earth, sky and water, I like looking for those subtle value transitions. As well as the atmospheric effect and play of hard and soft edges.

Aristotle wrote, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Very few statements about art carry as much truth or are as illuminating.  The great landscape painters I admire understood this, that to really paint the land you have to have a internal dialogue with nature. You must paint from the experience.

Demo Info:
Step 1: General shapes of the main elements are sketched in with thinned burnt sienna.
Step 2: Mix up base colors of the sky and water. Block in large masses.
Step 3: Building a value range. Lightest light and darkest dark.
Step 4: Smaller masses and midtones.
Step 5: Adjustments- “a series of corrections”
Step 6: Final study: “Earth, Sky, Water” oil on panel 5x7in

Click demo image to enlarge and view in Light-box.

Earth Sky Water 5x7in oil on panel © Jim Serrett

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things,
but their inward significance.”         -Aristotle

Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim

Cedar Lake Links
Great resource on Southern Illinois / Shawnee National Forest / Trails
Featuring Photography of Gary Marks - Images and Video