Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making the 6ft Painting, "Kaaterskill Falls" Part 3 final

When I first got home from the Catskills, I wanted to start a smaller version testing my ideas for the painting before going to the full-sized canvas.  This 24 x 36 in. painting is the result. For this one I painted the evening view before sunset when a lot of warm light was shining into the amphitheater of the Falls. I enjoyed the soft light and peaceful contemplative feeling of that hour. If you look at the last post, you'll see some outdoor studies of this time of day. Even though I ended up changing the time of day in the final version, all the work that went into this smaller finished painting really helped to prepare for some of the challenges of the six-footer. This painting had several compositonal changes in it's developement like moving the waterfall to the left, and lowering the horizon line. I was happy not to have to make these changes in the larger version. Another difference from the studies is that I removed a big tree from the center-left of the composition to open up the view of the cliffs behind the fall, and make the space into one large swoop.
Erik Koeppel, "Kaaterskill Falls, Evening", 24 x 36 inches, oil on canvas, Private Collection
Although the evening view worked well for this painting, I felt that for the large one, I wanted to celebrate the grandeur of the Falls shining in full daylight with blue sky and glistening green leaves. Although it isn't as quiet and contemplative a time of day, I thought that it had the kind impact that would work well at a large scale. I also feel that additional poetic details and life add a lot to a large composition. So I added the stags (lower right), the birds flying in the mist (small birds give a great sense of scale), the additional trickle of water at the far left, and of course the rainbow. I had never made a study of the rainbow, but it was a reoccurring phenomenon at this time of day on sunny days, and in my feeling adds a sense of magic that is truly present at this site. When I spent time on these ledges I began to feel like I was in a romantic paradise bursting with life; And the source of life in this spot is this powerful infinite cascade of water. I added the lovers beneath the fall to emphasize the humanity of the experience.

Erik Koeppel, "Kaaterskill Falls", 48 x 72 inches, oil on canvas, Private Collection

Well that's all for "Kaaterskill Falls". Next I'll post some great places that I painted this summer with some great artists, and the results. Thanks for reading.

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